July 22, 2004

County Completes $200,000 Off-System Bridge Project

Residents in extreme northwest Scotland County are riding a little safer after the county recently completed the last of three “off-system” bridges in the last year and a half that came to county residents without the expenditure of any local tax money.

The new structure spans Carter Creek on County Road 965, covering a 90-foot long section. The single-span bridge is 22-feet wide and was completed Houf Construction of Mexico at a cost of $199,036.

“I probably had more calls on this bridge than any other structure since I’ve been in office” said Commissioner Dean Childress. “Even though it is in the far corner of the county there were a lot of people using that road.”

The bid for the bridge was let October 16, 2003. Construction was completed this summer with the final inspection held July 7.

“In addition to this larger bridge, the county also has replaced several smaller structures up in that area, really improving the access to that part of the county,” said Presiding Commissioner Mike Stephenson.

The off-system bridges are funded by a combination of federal tax monies. Eighty percent of the money comes from the Federal Highway Administration in the form of “hard” match funding. The remaining 20-percent of the funding comes in the form of “soft” match money, which is based on the county’s road and bridge expenditures.

Scotland County has been fortunate enough to trade some of its excess hard-match funds, with Audrain County for some of its surplus soft-match funds, creating a fully funded bridge program.

The project has been so successful, Scotland County is seeking bids for a similar bridge replacement. The 2004-05 project is a much larger structure, calling for a 3-span bridge 130-feet in length across the Middle Fabius River in northwest Scotland County on CART Road 132. This project is expected to cost $340,000.

Stephenson praised the work of the county’s new engineering firm, Great River Engineering of Bowling Green.

“They designed these new bridges for us in a much more economical manner,” Stephenson said. “They have saved us money which translates into more bridges for the county.”

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