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.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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