12.3.19 County Road 34.tif

A portion of County Road 34 east of Fort Calhoun, which has been flooded since March, has washed away, according to Highway Supt. Bill Hansel.

A significant length of County Road 34 east of Fort Calhoun, which has been flooded to varying degrees since March, is gone, Highway Supt. Bill Hansel said during a Nov. 26 Washington County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The road was under construction by Sibbernsen Excavating of Valley to rebuild a section that eroded due to an unstable ditch. A portion east of that construction site was washed away from the flood.

"When (the river) went down the first time, the road was still there. It just took about two inches of asphalt over 150 foot," he said. "Now that 150 foot is completely gone. Went down there with fish and wildlife, he walked out there in his hip waiters about four foot from the road and put a stick down. It was five foot, six foot deep where he was. It's hard telling how big that hole is."

The road has been flooded since March when the Missouri River overflowed its banks due to significant runoff from rain and snowmelt as well as high releases from Gavins Point Dam. Hansel said the river has come down enough to see Boyer Chute, as of the board meeting, and was expected to come down further with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beginning to slow releases from Gavins Point.

Board member Jay Anderson, District 5-Blair, asked if a road was needed in that area since the homes and buildings in the area were abandoned. Hansel said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees would want the road so Boyer Chute could be open.

Washington County resident John Orr asked Hansel and board members about insurance money that was paid out for the project to fix the unstable ditch.

"That went down the river?" he asked.

In 2016, the Washington County Board of Supervisors accepted an insurance settlement in the amount of $374,150 to be used for the project. On Oct. 10, 2017, the board awarded the project to Sibbernsen Excavating for $499,755.

Board members said only a portion of the money was paid out for the project because the project was not finished. Hansel said the project was about one-third done.

Sibbernsen Excavating began work on the road Nov. 1, 2017. The project has been delayed several times due to flooding of the road.

Hansel said work from the construction site east to Boyer Chute would likely need to be done. He said he's hoping that work can be funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"Hopefully we can get that whole thing through FEMA," he said. "I just hope what construction (Sibbernsen) did do held, so we don't have to start over work."

The county has gone through FEMA and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for other road repair work needed after March flooding. County Line Road, which is located south of state Highway 91 near Nickerson, was completed through funds from FEMA, NEMA and the county. FEMA will pay 75 percent of the $397,935 cost, which was awarded through bid to KRW Construction of Blair. NEMA and the county will pay 12.5 percent.

County Road 34 has been closed since at least spring of 2016 after a farmer struck the ditch. The road has also been closed several times for the last several years due to flooding.

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