Morenci seeks funding for bridge replacement 3.11.09

Written by David Green.

Michigan communities were warned that the bulk of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the federal stimulus funds—are likely to end up in urban areas.

That’s not stopping smaller, rural communities from letting their needs be known.

Morenci put its bid in for funding to replace the Main Street bridge over Silver Creek on the east end of town.

Morenci’s proposal was submitted to U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, state Rep. Dudley Spade and the Region II Planning Commission, in addition to the Michigan Municipal League (MML)—an organization advising communities on the issue.

The MML reported at its convention last week that funds will be directed toward road and bridge projects, as well as those expanding public transit. The goal is to create new jobs and generate dollars in commercial and residential developments.

Morenci’s proposal seeks $80,000 for design and construction engineering and $635,000 for construction.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder hopes the weight limit restrictions placed on the bridge last year will move the project up in priority listings.

“Another thing that might be on our side is that we already applied for a federal grant for this bridge back in May 2008,” she said.

That application might show the project already on the wait list for federal funding.

A routine inspection of the bridge in 2008 resulted in a reduction in weight limits from 61 tons to 42 tons. The inspector didn’t call for closure of the bridge, but inspections will now be scheduled every year to look for additional scaling on the metal beams and for underwash around the abutments.

The bridge is scheduled for replacement in 2011, but construction would be advanced if funding were obtained.

Although the project is not shovel-ready, engineering could be completed within 180 days for a September start.

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