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Local officials are seeking more than a million dollars in federal funding to address a number of culvert and bridge restoration projects in various parts of the county.
By a unanimous vote on Thursday evening, Sept. 5, the Jefferson County Commission agreed to apply for a grant of $1,193,730.10 to accomplish nine identified projects, with 25 percent of the total cost to come from the local coffers.
The estimated cost of the nine projects is $1,591,640.13, meaning that the county is expected to kick in $397,910.03. The county's expected share can come in the form of cash or what is typically called in-kind contributions, i.e., materials, labor and equipment.
The federal money is coming from FEMA through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and is tied to Hurricane Micheal, which devastated the Florida Panhandle in October 2018.
At the local level, a group identified as the Jefferson County Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS), selected the nine projects for the HMGP funding, based on each project's alignment with the state's mitigation goals and objectives.
The nine projects, ranked in order of priority, are as follows:
• Boston Highway, from U.S. 19 going north: Remove and replace three 72-inch by 67-foot culvert pipes and install headwalls. The length of the project is one to one-and-a-half miles.
• Waukeenah Highway, from U.S. 19 going south: This work takes in three sections of the highway. The first entails removing the drain structure and pipe at the northeast corner of the bridge, repairing the guardrails and raising the elevation to the proper level to stop erosion of the embankment. The other two entail installing headwalls and guardrails in different areas. Total length of all three projects is about 17 miles.
• Boston Highway, from U.S. 19 going north: Remove and replace four 48-inch by 95-foot culvert pipes and install guardrails. The length of this project is 6.9 miles.
• South Salt Road at Lamont, from U.S. 27 going south: Replace two 56 feet of culvert pipes that is 36 inches in diameter and put up headwalls. Length of project is five miles.
• Upper Cody Road, from Tram Road going northwest: Replace cross drain culverts with 30-inch culvert pipes plus put in headwalls. Length of the project is one mile.
• Brock Road, from Dills Road going south: Install headwalls on inch by 40-foot culverts and install headwalls on one 18-inch by 40-foot culvert. Length of project is 0.2 miles.
• Waukeenah Highway, from U.S. 19 going south: Remove and replace 55 feet of 30-inch culvert with headwalls. Length of project is 2.8 miles.
• Gum Swamp Road, from White Wing Road going north: Remove and replace a total of 12 eight-inch culvert pipes with mitered end sections. Total length of project is 3.8 miles.
Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Paula Carroll presented the LMS's project recommendations to the board. She said Anderson Columbia Company would be doing the work and estimated it would take nine months to a year to complete. The board asked that the timeframe for completion be extended to two years, as some of the work is to be done in-house by Road Department crews.
The way the FEMA funding works, the county pays for the work upfront and the federal agency reimburses it in due time.