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County Road Repair Running Out Of Time, Money

More funding is needed before county road crews can make any more significant progress on repairing roads damaged in last month’s flood.

Houghton County Road Engineer Kevin Harju gave an update to the county board of commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday.

Harju said they still have 105 county roads that were impacted, with 17 of those being federal aid roads and funding for those will be sought through the Federal Highway Administration.

The funding to fix the remaining roads will need to come from FEMA, if the Trump administration makes a federal disaster declaration.

Harju said they expect that process to take at least 30 days so in the meantime, there’s not much more they can do.

About $16 million worth of damage was done to county roads by the storm, with another $14 million done to federal aid roads.

Harju said they are working with MDOT officials on getting those roads repaired before winter.

He said there is a good possibility that some of the roads will not be repaired until the spring.

Another concern is the match that may be required as part of any federal aid package, with FEMA requiring as much as a 25 percent match.

Harju said the road commission will ask the state to pay half of that match but that will still leave the county with needing to come up with 12 ½ percent of the $16 million needed.

Of the federal highway funds of $14 million, the county must pay a 20 percent match and Harju says he has not found where to get help to make that match.

Currently, the road commission is reaching out to the state for financing to get the county through until a decision on the disaster declaration is made.

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