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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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