Columbia, MO -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance Program is helping Barry County repair roads and bridges damaged by severe spring storms.
Because of damages caused by the storms in May, President Bush issued a disaster declaration on May 6 for a number of Missouri counties. Torrential rains in various parts of the county caused flash flooding, washing out roads, low water crossings and damaging a bridge. Barry County was designated eligible for the Public Assistance program on May 21.
The Public Assistance Program, administered by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and funded 75 percent by FEMA, provides for the repair, restoration, or replacement of damaged public structures and facilities, such as roads, bridges, and public buildings. Eligible applicants include state and local governments and certain private, non-profit organizations. In Barry County, applicants with eligible damages included 17 special road districts and the city of Cassville.
In the Sugar Creek Road District, the Butler Creek low water crossing and a box culvert on New Salem Road were sites that had been damaged by flooding several times in the past. These repetitive damages meant that those sites were eligible for Hazard Mitigation, Section 406, funding in addition to the cost of simply repairing to pre-flood condition.
"Hazard mitigation" is action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects. Under the Public Assistance program, "406 funds" can be added to repair and rebuilding projects to pay for cost-effective measures to reduce or eliminate the threat of future damage to the facility.
The box culvert on New Salem Road had washed out and been repaired at least three times in the past. It was extensively damaged by the May flooding and the creek itself was now several feet wider. Instead of repairing the damaged 24 x 11 foot concrete box culvert, the Sugar Creek Road District proposed replacing it with a 40 x 20 foot concrete and steel bridge with concrete abutments and wing walls.
Estimated eligible cost to repair the culvert to pre-flood condition is $14,446. With the addition of Hazard Mitigation funds of $10,038, a new bridge with a much increased hydraulic opening, making the crossing more resistant to future flooding, will be built. Of the eligible costs of $24,484, FEMA will obligate $18,363, to SEMA for disbursement to the county following the state's guidelines and requirements.
Butler Creek is a dry wash creek until it rains. Even with a light rain, it quickly becomes impassable. The site was once spanned by a railroad trestle that the district had converted to carry vehicular traffic, but vandals burned it down several years ago. The concrete low water crossing that the district established downstream has been replaced five times and the road district wanted a more permanent fix.
The Sugar Creek Road District applied for funding to reconstruct the bridge with a new one built to current codes and standards. By adding Hazard Mitigation, Section 406, funds of $12,770 to the cost of replacing the low water crossing, $9,434,the district will build a 40 x 20 foot concrete and steel bridge on the site of the old railroad trestle. Of the eligible costs of $22,204, FEMA will obligate $16,653 to SEMA.
To date, repair projects for eligible damages in Barry County to be funded under FEMA's Public Assistance program add up to $1,273,213, of which the federal share will be $954,909. Upon approval, that amount will be obligated to SEMA for disbursement to the 18 applicants following the state's guidelines and requirements. For more information on the Public Assistance program visit www.fema.gov.