BC culverts being mapped, assessed

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Barry County Commission has authorized Great River Associates Engineering, with offices in Springfield, to conduct an evaluation and to digitally map stream crossings and existing box culverts in Barry County.

According to Presiding Commissioner Cherry Warren, the move is designed to ensure safety of first responders having to travel through designated Mark Twain National Forest land in response to an emergency call.

Funds for the project come from the United States Department of Interior.

"Barry County is home to about 55,000 acres of land that can't be taxed locally," said Lois Lowe, Barry County treasurer. "Instead, the Department of Interior sends funds to the county that can be used on specific projects.

"One of these projects is to ensure the safety of first responders and their equipment when responding to incidents inside Mark Twain National Forest," Lowe said.

The Central Crossing Fire Department has responded to a total of 13 fires and four search and rescue missions on National Forest land since March of 2010. Total cost of those responses was $19,891.

According to Warren, the state of Missouri is responsible for evaluating the condition of all culverts 20 feet and over in length. The county does not inspect culverts.

"Some of those have been in place since the 1930s," Warren said.

Great River Associates will be responsible for evaluating and mapping box culverts and small bridges throughout the county in an effort to ensure their safety. Cost of the project is approximately $83,000.

"There is a lot of work to finding and inspecting all those culverts," Lowe said. "It's important that emergency responders have passable roads with the amount of heavy equipment they use in fighting fires and for other emergency calls."

The project is underway now and expected to be completed by Aug. 30. At that time, members of the Barry County Commission will determine if any of the existing culverts are in need of repair or replacement.

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