City settles on plan for repairs at 7th Street bridge

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Recent flooding may change planned project

The city of Cassville recently reviewed and decided on an option to repair the 7th Street bridge, which had been damaged in the July flooding.

FEMA provided the city with two options, one of which included $50,000 to put a new surface down on half of the bridge that was damaged, or, an option to build a low-span bridge over the current bridge, at a cost of $389,350. The city would be responsible for 15 percent of the total cost of either project.

The city settled on the first and least expensive option, which would involve paying $7,500 after FEMA pays 75 percent, and SEMA pays 10 percent in reimbursements. By choosing this option, aldermen avoided spending nearly $60,000 out of transportation tax money to build a new, low-span bridge.

Steve Walensky, public works director for the city, had planned to put gravel down so the bridge could be reopened in the interim as repairs were made.

However, flooding in the past two weeks has put a hold on repairs and may change the scope and cost of the overall project. After waters have completely receded, the damages can be surveyed, Walensky said.

"Until we can see the bridge a little clearer, we won't know if anything changes," he said. "The park got hit again, but we were still waiting from the original FEMA money from July, so we hadn't done anything to fix it from last time yet."

Last week, Barry County was hit with nearly 48 hours of nonstop rain, totaling 12 inches in some areas,.

David Compton, Barry County Emergency Management director, said the county saw some of the highest rain totals in Missouri.

Flat Creek, which is considered to be in flood stage at 7 feet, crested at 19.84 feet when Cassville flooded on July 7. But at 6 a.m. on Dec. 27, the National Weather Service's gauge in Jenkins read 24.77 feet, and by midnight Dec. 18, waters had risen to 25.24 feet.

Damages are just beginning to be surveyed, and those to schools and road districts are expected to total $1.5 million. Areas most affected were Sale Barn Road, Fair Street, County Farm Road and Harold Street, and some areas of Main Street had to be closed after water covered the street. The Cassville school district also saw flooding in the lower level of the intermediate school.

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