Between rocks and a hard place

Between rocks and a hard place

Between rocks and a hard place

The damage caused by spring’s flooding continued to cause trouble months later as the Road Department worked to repair what the rains washed away.

County Roads Superintendent Ben Garrett presented the road projects quarterly update at Monday’s county commission meeting. As part of that presentation, he requested approval of a rock-crushing bid from Premier LLC of Emmett, Idaho to produce the gravel needed to repair the roads. The bid includes three pit locations: North Valley Pit, Blue Mountain Pit and Reinhart Pit.

Each pit’s contract would amount to $99,000, adding up to nearly $300,000.

In spring, as part of the emergency assessment process, the county submitted a list of damaged roads to the Nevada Department of Emergency Management. The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) conducted a fly-over via helicopter to corroborate around the same time.

During a mid-March commission meeting, County Manager Dave Mendiola explained that in order to receive assistance from FEMA, the county would have to pay for the repairs up front. FEMA would reimburse a certain percentage of costs as long as repairs concluded in 18 months.

The repairs went forward. Then the hurricanes hit.

The catastrophic flooding along the gulf coast and in Puerto Rico would likely delay the funding for road repairs in Humboldt County, commissioners said Monday as they considered the rock-crushing bid.

The commission and Garrett bounced ideas back and forth, trying to find a solution.

Mendiola stressed that the county had to finish the repairs in order to qualify for reimbursement through FEMA. Though revenues continued to fall, the County had the financial capacity to complete the repairs, Mendiola said. He also expressed his confidence that the FEMA funding would arrive, even if took a while.

The roads, however, couldn’t wait. With or without FEMA funding, the roads needed gravel. Garrett emphasized that the costs of fixing the roads would only increase. “The longer we hold off, the worse the roads become.” He recommended moving forward with the three pit contracts in order to complete the road repairs on time, a decision the commission unanimously approved.