funds may help pay for storm damage to county roads
If the Governor’s Request is granted in support of storm damages sustained by west central Idaho counties, Federal funds may be allocated to partially off-set Idaho County permanent road repair costs. Preliminary assessments indicate that the county sustained more than $3,000,000 in damages to public roadways and infrastructure during the flood events in June.
Significantly damaged infrastructure include the loss of culverts and road segments along the lower portion of Battle Ridge Road; the intersection of Battle Ridge Road and Big Buck Lane; and the intersection of Thorn Springs Road and State Highway 162. Several roadways sustained substantial damages, including Stites Canyon Grade, Clear Creek, Leitch Creek and Fort Misery Roads. The Leitch Creek culvert on Clear Creek Road suffered major damages and will need to be replaced.
Some, but not all, emergency road repair work has been completed. This work is partially underwritten by a cost share Project Agreement with the State of Idaho resulting from a State Disaster Proclamation - the State will reimburse the county for 80% of approved emergency expenses to temporarily repair roads damaged between June 2nd and June 11th, not to exceed $160,000.
Permanent road repair financing is another matter. These costs total more than 2.5 times the county’s road repair and maintenance budget and are more than 90% of the entire FY10 county road department budget. Consequently, federal disaster assistance is a critical component of permanently returning county roads to their pre-event condition. Governor Otter recognized this reality with his request for a Federal declaration.
Because the county does not have the financial means to independently make these permanent repairs without severe budget impacts, including cancelling or delaying scheduled projects, and disrupting general public service delivery across all departments, some road work will not occur until a Federal assistance decision reached. The damaged roads are being addressed, but until they can be repaired, residents of affected areas will continue to experience increased travel times.
The condition of several roadways east of Kooskia and west of Kamiah will create inconveniences for commuters and require some detours. Scheduled road maintenance projects in other county areas may also be delayed as the damaged roads are repaired. Some disruption to commercial activities, possible delays in public safety response and difficult driving conditions may be encountered in some areas.
The County Road Department is working hard to complete the repairs required on those roads damaged by the June floods. Please drive safely.
Damage exceeds qualifying threshold
The State of Idaho and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) completed the joint preliminary damage assessment in the seven counties impacted by the flooding event of early June.
This assessment confirmed damages exceed the threshold to qualify for federal disaster assistance. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has reviewed the outcome of the damage assessment and has submitted a request to FEMA for a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
The threshold for federal disaster assistance is based on a per capita dollar amount, and equals approximately $1.7 million for the State of Idaho. The joint preliminary damage assessment teams visited the impacted counties and the damages are estimated to exceed $5 million. This estimated dollar amount does not attempt to tabulate all the damages that were incurred during the flooding event, but is used as a method to determine if Idaho has met the threshold for federal disaster assistance. The damages include debris removal, emergency repair, roads and bridges, water control facilities, and recreational areas.
Seven Idaho counties are under a State disaster declaration, and are included in the Governor’s request to the President. Those counties are Idaho, Lewis, Valley, Adams, Payette, Gem and Washington counties. Governor Otter’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration now goes to FEMA, which will make a recommendation to the President. The President will determine, based on several factors, whether he will issue a Major Disaster Declaration. Should the President issue the Major Disaster Declaration, federal disaster funding will be made available to restore damaged public infrastructure to its pre-flooding condition.
“The cooperation among federal, state and local agencies during this joint preliminary damage assessment was remarkable,” said BHS Director Brigadier General Bill Shawver. “The impacted counties went above and beyond in compiling damage information and providing for public safety, our state partners including the Transportation Department and Governor’s Office stood by our side throughout the process, and I applaud FEMA for their professional and responsive support to Idaho.”