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Second Appeal Analysis
PA ID# 037-99037-00; Los Angeles County
DSR ID# Project Worksheet 3028; Tuna Canyon Road Repair
As a result of heavy rainfall during the January 2005 Winter Storms, FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 3038 in July 2005 for $546,862 to fund repairs to slope washouts and associated restoration of shoulder pavement and appurtenances at two locations (Sites 1 and 2) in close proximity on Tuna Canyon Road. Site 1 is located at mile marker (MM) 4.97 and 4.98 on the south side of the creek, and Site 2 is located at MM 5.04 on the north side of the creek. The PW described approximately 100 feet of slope washout and damaged shoulder pavement at each site. The scope of work includes construction of a 100-foot solider pile wall at each site.First Appeal
Los Angeles County (Applicant) submitted a first appeal to the California Governor Office of Emergency Services (OES) to FEMA on March 28, 2006. The Applicant contended that the scope of work for Site 1 is not feasible and the scope of work for Site 2 is too aggressive in this environmentally sensitive area. Instead of a solider pile wall at Site 1, the Applicant proposed to excavate approximately 400 feet of road immediately to the south of its current alignment. The Applicant proposed to restore the slope at Site 2 with fill then place erosion protection in the form of riprap and boulders along both sides of the creek over a length in excess of 200 feet. The revised scope of work included appurtenances such as geo-synthetic erosion protection blanket, catch basins, drainage pipe, asphalt pavement, crushed base, willow planting, etc. The Applicant requested that FEMA increase the project cost to $1, 407,696.
The Acting Regional Director denied the appeal because the Applicant did not submit sufficient documentation to support its request for a change in the scope of work. The Acting Regional Director informed OES that the scope of work that the Applicant proposed constituted an Improved Project pursuant to 44 CFR§ 206.203.Second Appeal
The Applicant submitted a second appeal to OES on November 20, 2006. OES forwarded the appeal to FEMA on January 18, 2007. The Applicant reiterated its position regarding the need for a change to the scope of work to comply with the Countys designed repair scheme for the road restoration with ancillary support activities, along with the associated increase in the total project cost. The second appeal included copies of the PW, the first appeal response, much of the same information provided in the first appeal, additional photographs of the damaged road sections, and a copy of a report from the Geotechnical and Materials Engineering Division of Los Angeles Department of Public Works (LADPW). This report, dated November 2, 2005, had geotechnical recommendations for the proposed Tuna Canyon Road realignment and a set of boring logs.
The second appeal also included a cost comparison prepared by LADPW between the repair that the Applicant proposes at Site 2 and the scope of work for the soldier pile wall repair from PW 3038. This comparison was to illustrate that the repair proposed by the County was more cost effective. The Applicant revised the project estimate to $1,641,886, but did not provide an explanation for the increase from the amount given in the first appeal.DISCUSSION
The PW describes the damage at Sites 1 and 2 as slope washouts, which implies that the damage was caused by storm water running off the shoulder of the road and eroding material from the slope where it had been supporting the pavement. On this basis, the PW was written for repairs in the immediate vicinity of the observed damage. The Applicant stated in the first appeal (p. 3) that the type of repair described in the PW is not feasible at Site 1 because there is no competent material at a reasonable depth. This argument, however, is not sufficient justification to revise the scope of work. By their very nature, soldier piles derive the ability to carry lateral loads through their embedment in soil or rock. A technical argument might conceivably be made that a greater than normal depth of embedment might be required at a particular location, which could have significant cost implications. Consequently, a cost comparison might be made to demonstrate that the relocation of a road would be more cost effective than an expensive soldier pile wall at the actual location of the damage. This argument, however, would have to be supported by a cost analysis supported by engineering calculations showing the depth of pile embedment necessary to support the required lateral loads. Neither an engineering analysis nor cost comparisons were provided by the Applicant with either the first or second appeals.
The Applicant also states in the second appeal (p. 3) that the type of repair described in the PW at Site 1,
does not mitigate problems with slope instability that lie deep below the surface
This implies that the County is attempting to implement measures to protect the roadway from a deep-seated failure potentially resulting from a future event. Public Assistance provides funds to repair disaster-related damage. Since the damage from the incident event was a near-surface failure, the Applicants proposed measures to address slope instability deep below the surface are not eligible for funding.
Regarding Site 2, the Applicant states in both the first and second appeals that FEMAs scope of work is too aggressive, noting in the second appeal (p. 4) that,
since the road is close to the creek, it is highly unlikely the County would be able to obtain permits from jurisdictional agencies to construct a wall immediately adjacent to the streambed. The Applicant proposes to add fill to the slope and 200 linear feet of riprap along both sides of the creek and other appurtenances, including planting of willow trees. It states that the cost of its project is estimated to be $130,000 compared to its estimate of $541,000 for the slope of work described in the PW. The PW estimate for the work at Site 2 is $270,080. Therefore, the Applicants proposed scope of work at Site 2 appears to be cost effective. However, the planting of trees are not eligible pursuant to Response and Recovery Directorate Policy 9524.5, Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plantings Associated with Facilities, dated September 24, 1998.CONCLUSION
FEMA funds cost-effective repairs of disaster-related damages to eligible facilities. The Applicants request to revise the scope of work at Site 1 is denied because it exceeds the work required to restore the pre-disaster condition of the facility. The Applicants proposed scope of work at Site 2, minus the planting of willow trees, is reasonable and cost-effective. Therefore, this portion of the appeal is approved.
If the Applicant elects to accomplish its scope of work, the work would constitute an Improved Project requiring that the Federal funding be limited to the Federal share of the approved estimate of eligible costs. FEMA will review and update the estimated cost of the project as appropriate.