Highway Dept. secures funds for drainage improvements

The Stark County Highway Department has secured $1.2 million for drainage improvements on Snareville Road.  The funds will be used to replace two culverts damaged during the floods of April 2013.  The Stark County Board approved a resolution on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 to enter into a funding agreement for each of the two projects.  
In a meeting held February 19, 2015, Stark County Engineer, Mark Otten, presented the justification for upgrading the projects from repairs to replacements to representatives of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  Mr. Otten substantiated the fact that the two culverts required replacement – rather than the previously approved repairs – to ensure the safety of the motoring public in Stark County.  The continued degradation of the two culverts since the flood event was shown to be a result of the initial damage caused by the floodwaters.  Until the culverts are replaced, the Stark County Highway Department continues to monitor both culverts and will take the necessary steps to protect the safety of the travelling public at all times.

 At the conclusion of Mr. Otten’s presentation, engineers from IDOT and FHWA then agreed that the long-term safety of the public could only be assured by replacing the culverts.  IDOT and FHWA further agreed to allocate federal Emergency Repair (ER) funds in the amount of $1.2 million for the replacement of the two drainage structures.  
The first of the two culverts is located north of Snareville Cemetery, and the second is approximately 1.5 miles further south toward IL Route 17.  The engineering and design of the new projects was expedited in order to meet federal deadlines and ensure that both culverts could be constructed this summer.  Construction of the double-cell concrete box culverts will require that Snareville Road be closed – except for local traffic – during construction.  Construction is expected to start around the beginning of August.  To meet the current design standards stipulated by IDOT, the replacement culverts will be larger than the existing structures to avoid similar problems occurring during future flood events.  The new concrete box culverts are expected to provide a lifespan of 75-100 years.  
As a result of the flood event of April 2013, the Stark County Highway Department  also documented over 50 damaged locations across the County Highway System.  Mr. Otten established a prioritized list of damages and costs, and initiated a concerted effort to seek state and federal funding.  In addition to the $1.2 million dollars for the Snareville Road culverts, the Stark County Highway Department also secured over $325,000 for repairs at the other damage locations.  All of the flood damages have now been repaired except for three sites: the two Snareville culverts, and roadway repairs on Duncan Road west of the Spoon River bridge.  
The Stark County Highway Department asks that all motorists please slow down during the planting season, and use extreme caution as you travel along Snareville Road and all other construction zones.

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