From August 24 to September 7, 2014, the South Napa earthquake damaged a bridge (Facility) in Napa County (Applicant). FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 66 to document repairs to the Facility’s stone wing walls, estimating $14,922.86 in total costs. The Applicant made temporary repairs and installed a pre-fabricated bridge (Bailey bridge) over the Facility. Professional engineers retained by the Applicant prepared a report based on inspections of the Facility, assessing that significant structural damage resulted from the disaster. The Applicant submitted separate scopes of work (SOWs) to repair or to replace the Facility, with estimated costs of $4,059,240.04 and $3,702,209.93, respectively, and requested Public Assistance (PA) funding for the less expensive replacement option. FEMA denied the Applicant’s request, finding some of the damage to the Facility was pre-existing. The Applicant appealed, arguing the Facility sustained structural damage and FEMA’s approved SOW would not restore it to predisaster conditions. The Applicant submitted documentation to support its appeal, including inspection records. FEMA denied the appeal, finding the Applicant did not establish predisaster condition and did not demonstrate the claimed damages were a direct result of the disaster. On second appeal, the Applicant requests that FEMA obligate an additional $2,058,670.00 in PA funding, based on a revised cost to replace the Facility. The Applicant argues: (1) it has established the predisaster condition of the Facility; (2) FEMA failed to record several items of eligible damage in PW 66; (3) the approved SOW will not restore the Facility and is unsafe; and (4) costs for the Bailey bridge and temporary repairs are eligible for PA funding.
Authorities and Second Appeals
- Stafford Act § 406(a)(1)(A).
- 44 C.F.R. §§ 206.202(d)(1)(i), 206.223(a)(1).
- PA Guide, at 29, 33, 80, 101.
- Vil. of Waterford, FEMA-4020-DR-NY, at 4.
- Republic Cty. Highway Dep’t, FEMA-4230-DR-KS, at 4.
- Pulaski Cty., FEMA-4144-DR-MO, at 7.
- Per 44 C.F.R. § 206.223(a)(1), to be eligible for PA funding, an item of work must be required as a direct result of the disaster.
- The Applicant’s inspection records and other documentation demonstrate the Facility’s predisaster condition, which included pre-existing damage to the stone wing walls.
- However, the engineer’s damage report and post-disaster photographs demonstrate additional eligible damage to the Facility’s concrete features, which was not captured in PW 66.
- Per 44 C.F.R. § 206.202(d)(1)(i), a PW must identify an eligible SOW.
- FEMA agrees with the Applicant’s engineer’s assessment that the disaster resulted in significant structural damages and adversely impacted the Facility’s load-bearing capacity.
- The approved SOW does not account for all eligible damage, including significant structural damages, and must be revised.
- Per the PA Guide, like permanent restoration work, emergency protective measures must be required as a direct result of the declared major disaster or emergency.
- FEMA agrees that the post-disaster Facility presented an immediate safety risk to the public. Pending review, the Applicant’s emergency protective measures are eligible.
Conclusion- Appeal decision issued 6/6/2019
FEMA Region IX will work with the Applicant to revise the PW 66 damage description and SOW, and to determine costs for eligible emergency protective measures.