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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 071-UC5WW-00; Port of New Orleans
PW ID# 16676; Seabrook Railroad Bridge
February 16, 2010
Assistant Deputy Director
Disaster Recovery Division
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
7667 Independence Boulevard
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806
Re: Second Appeal–Port of New Orleans, PA ID 071-UC5WW-00, Seabrook Railroad Bridge,
FEMA-1603-DR-LA, Project Worksheet (PW) 16676
Dear Mr. DeBosier:
This letter is in response to your letter dated April 14, 2009, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Port of New Orleans (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of additional Category B emergency work funding to stabilize the Seabrook Railroad Bridge.
As a result of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, storm surge caused damage to the Seabrook Railroad Bridge. The facility is a single-leaf bascule bridge with two railroad tracks on the interior of a truss system with two abandoned roadways cantilevered on either side of the tracks. The railroad tracks are still in use, but the roadways had been closed to vehicular traffic prior to the disaster. The roadways were damaged as a result of the disaster, upsetting the balance between the span, or leaf, and the counterweight. Besides damage to the abandoned vehicular roadway, there was no storm-related damage identified to the railroad bridge.
On January 24, 2007, FEMA prepared Category E Project Worksheet (PW) 9322 to restore the balance of the bridge as well as to perform other permanent repairs to the operations building, lighting, fenders, and components of the facility located on land. The scope of work of PW 9322 rebalances the bridge by adding weight to the damaged bridge span, as was the Applicant’s maintenance practice prior to the disaster. The Applicant requested FEMA prepare another PW to provide a more long-term means to rebalance the bridge. FEMA prepared PW 16676 on July 30, 2007, as a Category B project, to remove the remaining roadway components and reduce the weight of the concrete counterweight. FEMA did not approve this PW because the Applicant did not complete the work by the established deadline to perform emergency work.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) on July 31, 2008. The Applicant requested funding for the scope of work outlined on PW 16676. The Applicant claimed that this work was necessary to eliminate or reduce an immediate threat to public safety or improved property. GOHSEP supported the Applicant’s appeal and requested that FEMA extend the deadline to perform emergency work or reformulate the project as a Category C repair. The Regional Administrator denied the appeal on November 19, 2008, stating that the proposed scope of work in PW 16676 went beyond repairing disaster-related damage and, as such, was not eligible permanent work. Further, the Applicant did not perform any emergency measures to eliminate threats to public safety or improved property by the time it submitted the first appeal. Because the Applicant had chosen to delay emergency repairs to pursue funding, the Regional Administrator stated that a time extension to perform eligible emergency work was not justified.
On February 17, 2009, the Applicant submitted a letter to GOHSEP in response to FEMA’s first appeal determination. The Applicant asserted that it had completed temporary stabilization but that these measures “were not sufficient to prevent continuing deterioration of essential components that require more precise engineering.” The Applicant stated that it was not appealing the Regional Administrator’s determination. Rather, it was seeking an adjustment to the scope of work for PW 9322 to address unresolved issues with the scope. GOHSEP transmitted this letter as a second appeal to FEMA on April 14, 2009.
On December 10, 2009, the Applicant and the State met with the Public Assistance (PA) Division Director via video teleconference to discuss the appeal. The Applicant, State and FEMA agreed that a Category B project worksheet was not appropriate for the bridge. Further, all parties agreed that FEMA should review the scope of work for PW 9322 to ensure that it included all items of work required to restore the bascule bridge to its predisaster condition. The Applicant stated that although the roadway was not open to vehicular traffic, it was critical to maintaining the weight balance of the bridge.
The Applicant presented its scope of work and a cost estimate of $890,626 to restore the bridge to its pre-disaster condition and function. The Applicant’s scope of work contained 38 line items. FEMA reviewed the scope of work and determined that FEMA had included 20 of the line items in PW 9322. Ten other line items are eligible disaster-related repairs and the Applicant’s cost estimates for the items are reasonable. Four of the Applicant’s line items - replace “in kind” Lakeside roadside timber deck, replace “in kind” Lakeside roadway steel bridge railing, and replace “in kind” timber bracing, stringers and decking, replace asphalt wearing course - are eligible, but the Applicant’s cost estimates are not reasonable. FEMA has adjusted the cost estimates for these four items. FEMA determined that four line items – remove timber piles, replace timber piles, test for salt on steel and salt decontamination - are ineligible. FEMA estimates the cost to restore the Seabrook Railroad Bridge to its pre-disaster condition to be $567,216. FEMA has already approved $311,298 in PW 9322. Therefore, the additional eligible amount is $255,918. See enclosed chart and CEF report.
I have reviewed the information the Applicant submitted with the appeal and determined that the Category B PW to restore the balance of the bridge is not appropriate. However, additional items of work should be included in the scope of work of PW 9322 to restore the bridge to its pre-disaster condition. Therefore, I approve an additional $255,918 for PW 9322. By copy of this letter, I request that the Director of the Transitional Recovery Office take appropriate action to implement this determination.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Tony Russell
FEMA Region VI
Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office