There was good news for Madison County earlier this month when it learned that three of the four bridge projects it has requested funds for were awarded matching funds in a state program.
Troy Uhlir, chairman of the Madison County board of commissioners, said he appreciates the efforts of Dick Johnson, Madison County roads superintendent, in identifying the projects, along with the county foremen, in finding those that need work and might be eligible for the program.
“I went out with my foreman, and I know it comes as a significant savings to the county in trying to get bridges repaired, as many are unsafe,” Uhlir said.
In the four years that the state has awarded funds for the County Bridge Match Program (CBMP), Madison County has been fortunate to have at least one project funded each year.
When considering bridges to submit for CBMP, Madison County originally had 35 structurally deficient bridges identified in August 2016.
The state began with $5 million for the first year of the program when funds were awarded in 2017. More funds have been added since then. Bridges on minimum-maintenance roads are not eligible.
Johnson said he estimates that the county’s three bridges awarded funds this year, which will be replaced with culverts, will save the county about $100,000 to $120,000.
The state purchases the materials such as culverts, but it is then up to the counties to do the labor to install them. Madison County cooperated with Platte County, which was awarded one project, in an attempt to achieve economies of scales for ordering.
Johnson said the state appreciates efforts of counties to work together on the projects.
The projects still go through regular environmental study parameters and the bidding process, with work likely to happen this fall, Johnson said.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation announced 20 proposals statewide that were selected for funding in the CBMP. Proposals were submitted by 45 counties and included 133 bridges.
“The large number of counties submitting proposals, and the large number of bridges included in the proposals, shows that the CBMP remains strong even with many counties being severely affected by the 2019 flooding,” said Mark Traynowicz, bridge engineer for NDOT. “Including this year’s selected bridges, the program has funded the replacement, repair or removal of 254 deficient bridges since the first round of proposals were selected in January 2017.”
The Madison County bridges to be replaced by culverts selected are located:
— 6½ miles north and 1 mile west of Newman Grove.
— 1½ miles north and 1 mile east of Newman Grove.
— 2 ½ miles north and 1 mile west of Madison.
The bridge the county didn’t receive help on was on 838th Avenue, about 2 miles south and a little west of Battle Creek.
Uhlir said estimates for that particular bridge replacement, even with a culvert, could cost around $600,000. Regardless, the county will continue the engineering work and move forward on it.
“It’s a well-traveled road and used by a lot of farmers,” Uhlir said. “We know it is important to get that one replaced.”
Other Northeast and North Central Nebraska counties getting projects, followed by number in parentheses:
Cedar (1), Colfax (3), Cuming (4), Knox (2), Platte (1) and Wayne (2).