Council seeks funding for replacement 2015.05.06

It’s May, the time of the year when Morenci applies for bridge repair funds.

Morenci city council will try once again to obtain funding for replacement of the East Main Street bridge through the state’s Local Bridge Grant Program.

City administrator/clerk Michael Sessions told council that the city gets closer to the top each year and was the first runner-up in 2014. However, that doesn’t guarantee the top spot this time around. A bridge in another part of the state could be rated as more urgently in need of repair.

Replacement of the bridge is estimated to cost $1.4 million, with 95 percent of the cost eligible for state funding. The city would be required to pay for engineering.

City superintendent Barney Vanderpool said he was forced to lower the weight limit again this year—from 15,000 pounds to 13,000—following the most recent inspection. New weight limit signs were posted.

If the city’s application is chosen, construction would likely begin in 2018 when funds are released.

In addition to seeking funds for replacement, council also approved a motion to seek funds for maintenance of the west bridge over Bean Creek. The cost of work at that location could reach $200,000.

FESTIVAL—Council approved a contract with DR Shows to provide rides at the Town and Country Festival starting June 19. The company shares profits with the festival committee, said mayor Bill Foster. Last year’s portion was $1,800. 

Following an electrical upgrade, no problems were reported last year, Foster said, with the exception of a short in a vendor’s freezer.

Councilor Ron Apger said the electrical board at the park should be enclosed by a fence.