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.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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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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