County roads take beating, officials told
Outside help will be hired to get repair work finished
BENTONVILLE — Benton County’s roads took a beating from the storms and flooding of April and May and county officials plan to hire outside help to get repair work done and keep the county’s normal road work on schedule.
The county’s Transportation Committee received an update on the roads Monday night from County Judge Barry Moehring and Jay Frasier, public services administrator and head of the Road Department. Robert McGowen, emergency services administrator, reported on the status of the county’s application for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency while Frasier and Josh Beam, county engineer, updated the panel on other possible sources of federal aid.
Moehring said the county will likely hire private contractors to do some of the emergency repairs, particularly those with tight guidelines for completion.
“I think we had a solid 2017 plan,” Moehring said “We’ve had a bit of a setback with 300-plus FEMA sites
from the flooding.”
McGowen said the county estimates the cost of repairing damage from the April disaster at about $1.8 million at 334 sites across the county. He said the county will have a kickoff meeting with FEMA representatives on Friday and FEMA representatives will begin doing site visits sometime after that meeting. If FEMA approves the county’s application, federal disaster assistance will cover 75 percent of the repair costs with the county paying the other 25 percent. Brenda Guenther, comptroller, estimated Benton County’s share of the cost at about $462,000.
McGowen said much of the disaster repair will be done by contractors.
“These projects will be put out for bids because the Road Department can’t do all of these and still do the work in the 2017 road plan,” McGowen said.
The county also is applying for about $266,000 in assistance from the federal highway Administration; another $344,000 under a hazard mitigation grant program under the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA; and also will apply for grant money for bank stabilization work from the federal Department of Agriculture.
The committee also was briefed on the status of the county’s 2017 road plan to date. Frasier said the county has completed eight concrete road paving projects and done 19 improvement projects on dirt roads. The county has also done 66 culvert projects and installed about a mile of guardrails along county roads.
Frasier said there will be about 8 miles of road work planned for 2017 that will be carried over into the 2018 plan.
“If we can’t get to it it’s going to go on next year and it’s the first thing we’ll get to,” Frasier said. “It’s the only fair thing to do.”
Pat Adams, justice of the peace for District 6 and committee chairman, said he’s satisfied the county is making good progress despite the flooding.
“It looks to me like they’ve got everything moving in the right direction,” Adams said. “They’ll be doing a lot of chip and seal paving for the next 45 days and people will be able to see that work being done. This flood we got had set us back on our heels pretty hard but we’re coming out of that now.”
Adams said he also was pleased with the Road Department’s report on bridge projects planned for this year and next year. The projects included War Eagle Bridge, which is now under repair and set to be completed in September, and Spanker Creek Bridge, which will probably begin at the end of this year and be completed sometime in 2018. Other bridges listed for repair or replacement include Wildcat Bridge, Stagecoach Bridge, Osage Creek Bridge, Wagon Wheel Bridge, Old Wire Bridge and Snavely Bridge.
“I’m pretty tickled with the bridge work,” Adams said. “We’ve got some in bad, bad disarray and at least they’re on the radar now. Hopefully we’ll get them fixed for good. No more patch jobs.”
“These projects will be put out for bids because the Road Department can’t do all of these and still do the work in the 2017 road plan.”
— Robert McGowen, Benton County emergency services administrator