Summary: In January 1996, flooding severely damaged a one-lane bridge carrying rural State Route 3003 over Benninger Creek. The predisaster condition of the bridge was very poor. The most recent bridge inspections conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) indicated a "basically intolerable condition requiring high priority of replacement." On March 27, 1996, PennDOT awarded a low-bid construction contract for $180,720 to replace the bridge with a new box culvert, and requested FEMA funding. On August 31, 1996, DSR 61458 for $43,058 was prepared. This is the amount that FEMA estimated that "in kind" bridge repairs would have cost. The "in kind" repairs consisted of removal and resetting of the superstructure, replacement of the stone abutment with a reinforced concrete abutment, and approach roadway repair.
In their first appeal, PennDOT argues that the cost to simply repair the bridge, based on their estimate, exceeds the contract cost of the new box culvert (exclusive of roadway repairs). In response, the Regional Director determined that the design of the new box culvert does not comply with Regulations because the minimum standards for roadway width and hydraulic capacity were exceeded. She concluded that the box culvert represents an improved project. PennDOT submitted their second appeal on June 11, 1997, arguing that the roadway width and hydraulic capacity (flood design) are both in conformance to their design standards and criteria.
Issues: Does the new two-lane box culvert constitute eligible work?
Findings: No. Because the preexisting bridge was a one-lane facility, FEMA can only fund either repairs in-kind or a new replacement structure at the in-kind width (one-lane) and length. The Regional Director will determine eligible costs of repairs or replacement as appropriate.
Rationale: Title 44 CFR 206.226, Restoration of damaged facilities.