After more than 20 years, a proposed project to complete the paving of County Road 32, also known as the “Calhoun cutoff,” will be let for bids.
The Washington County Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to begin the bid process provided the project could be paid for during the current and future fiscal years without a bond.
Supervisor Jay Anderson, District 5-Blair, was absent.
Highway Superintendent Bill Hansel said he believes the county can pay to complete the 3.2-mile stretch of road from state Highway 133 to County Road P35 over the next two fiscal years with funds currently available, including for asphalt, box culverts and funds provided from the state for road and bridge projects, which total approximately $3.2 million.
“Now is the time,” Hansel said.
Supervisor Steve Kruger, District 6-Arlington, added there is also about $978,000 available in the inheritance fund.
“We've made all of the inheritance fund obligations for the year,” Kruger said.
The county has annually placed $500,000 in the fund for the CR 32 project, he said, which could allow the county to pay off the project early.
“Without bidding, we don't really know what the cost is going to be, but we can get real close to fitting it in the budget,” Hansel said.
Hansel said if the county didn't move forward with the project, it risked losing federal funds received to purchase the right of ways. The county would have to repay $148,000 if the project is not at least started in 2019.
The county would also be out $62,590 it paid Speece Lewis Engineers for a redesign, which allowed the county to receive a relaxation of the design standards from the Nebraska Board of Public Roads Classifications and Standards.
“That's just funds that would be lost,” Hansel said. “That's not counting JEO's funds for the initial engineering.”
An initial total cost for completing the road had been estimated between $4 million and $7 million. The cost to move utilities was approximately $800,000.
But with the relaxation of standards, which was approved April 19, the county could save $1.8 million, Hansel said.
Paving of the initial 2.5 miles of the road began in 1999. Since then, funding to finish the final portion had repeatedly been an issue.