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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 013-99013-00; Cascade County
PW ID# 1430; Armington Road Repair
Citation: FEMA-1996-DR-MT, Cascade County, Slope Repair, Project Worksheet (PW) 1430
Reference: Land Slides; Roads
Summary: High snowpack and severe spring storms resulted in major flooding throughout Montana. The Applicant reported the failure of Armington Road south of its intersection with highway MT 200. Based on a site visit, the rainfall caused about 10-feet of the roadway’s integral ground to fail for a length of about 60 feet. FEMA concluded that there was instability at the site prior to the declared event. The findings from the site visit are documented in the September 29, 2011, letter from a Professional Geologist (P.G.) hired by FEMA. FEMA prepared PW 1430 to document the eligible damages once the Applicant stabilized the site. The estimated cost of repair was $10,138 which included 6 inches of road sub-base, 3 inches of road base, 2 inches of asphalt and shoulder material for a 24-foot wide and 150-foot long section of roadway.
In the first appeal the Applicant argued that the site was stable previous to the disaster and the damage was caused by the declared event. In a letter dated May 8, 2012, the Regional Administrator denied the first appeal based on FEMA Recovery Policy RP9524.2, Landslides and Slope Stability Related to Public Facilities dated October 14, 2010, which states that if the site is not stable and there is evidence of historical instability, the cost to stabilize the site is the responsibility of the Applicant.
In its second appeal the Applicant argued that test cuts of the asphalt roadway sections in seven areas over a distance of more than a quarter mile, historical maintenance records of both Cascade County and the Montana Department of Transportation for the area, interviews of personnel working for the county during the ownership period of more than 30 years, and knowledge of common construction techniques used throughout the last 50 years substantiate that the facility was stable prior to the flooding event of 2011. While the total collapse of the slope appears to be the result of the declared event, the slope failure cannot be attributed entirely to the declared event since there is evidence that this section of road has experienced previous movement.
Issue: Was slope instability at the Armington Road site caused by the declared event and eligible for funding?
Finding: No. There is evidence of prior site instability based on geotechnical reports.
Rationale: Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Recovery Policy RP9524.2, Landslides and Slope Stability Related to Public Facilities, October 14, 2010; Public Assistance Guide, FEMA 322, June 2007