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Inspection of damaged roads, culverts begins

By Staff | May 29, 2009

A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) field worker last week began touring damaged roads and culverts in Pierce County with county commissioners.

The assessment of public infrastructure damaged by excessive runoff this spring was part of FEMA’s Project C and is expected to take upwards of two months to complete.

Joe Bohl, District One county commissioner, said the tour began in Union Township in northeastern Pierce County and included sections of road where cracks and holes had formed from flooding. Other sites included washed-out culverts. Bohl estimated between 50 and 100 sites were reviewed on May 27.

Eventually, FEMA will inspect damages in the other districts throughout the county, including District Five, the south and western part of the county, which sustained a lot of overland flooding.

Earlier this spring, Pierce County was added to a Presidential Disaster Declaration, making it eligible for federal and state emergency assistance. The county recently learned its share of repairing damage to roads and culverts would be just three percent. Although it’s too early to determine the scope of the damage in dollars, the amount is expected to surpass $1 million. This is the first time since 2005 the county has been included in a federal disaster declaration.

In addition to Project C, the county also qualified for public assistance under Project B, which includes mitigation measures, placing barricades and signage to close off sections of roads. Individuals are also eligible to apply for disaster aid if homes or businesses were damaged from flooding.

Duane Johnston, District Four commissioner, said repairs to some sections of roads had to be completed prior to FEMA inspection. In those cases, road closures forced residents, school buses and motorists to drive several miles out of their way. Johnston said FEMA gave the OK to complete repairs to those areas deemed necessary to open.

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