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Bridges selected as part of state reimbursement program

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HARTINGTON — Three county bridges have been selected to be replaced with the costs reimbursed by the state-funded County Bridge Match program.

Carla Schmidt, county road superintendent, gave the news to the Cedar County commissioners at its meeting last week.

Schmidt’s proposal that included the three bridge sites here selected Jan. 14. Only 17 proposals out of 69 were selected.

“For us to get three projects in this round was like winning the lottery. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

The selected bridge sites include one five miles west of Coleridge at a stream; another one mile east of Hartington at Bow Creek; and the last one five miles south of St. James at Bow Creek tributary. The bridges near Coleridge and St. James will be replaced with a concrete box culvert and the one near Hartington with a concrete slab. A total of $400,000 has been approved for reimbursement for those bridge replacements.

The county’s proposal also included a Wayne County bridge that was selected as part of the program.

In the bridge match program proposal, Schmidt noted the cooperative effort is to streamline design, bid and build processes through project bundling which presumes that bids will result in lower pricing due to a project’s regional nature.

“It helps tremendously when you bundle with another county. When they score them, that’s one of the points they use,” Schmidt said.

The earliest the bridge projects could go to bid would be this fall but most likely next spring, she said.

“That’s one of the catches to being selected is they don’t move real fast,” Schmidt said, adding that some preliminary work needs to be done. The county will have until the end of 2025 to complete the work on the three selected bridges.

Since 2016, three other bridges have been replaced and more than $400,000 reimbursed.

The County Bridge Match Program has been authorized through the Legislature through June 2023 but there is some indication that the program may extend beyond that date, Schmidt said.

The county has a total of 36 structurally deficient bridges.

At its meeting last week, the commissioners also:

- Approved changes to the Cedar County Transit passenger handbook. Last week, the transit picked up two new riders in Knox County - one from Crofton and one from Bloomfield with the recent expansion 30 miles into Knox County. The transit also had new riders in Coleridge and Hartington due to an awareness advertising campaign funded by a national grant. Cedar County Transit Manager Nikki Pinkelman asked the commissioners to consider raising her salary and that of the transit scheduling coordinator and provided wage comparisons with other transit systems in the state. The commissioners took no action on that issue.

- Heard from Judd Allen, Nebraska Association of County Officials benefits representative, about new medical transportation insurance that will become available for county employees. The new insurance would apply to any ambulance or emergency air transport services.

- Approved a building permit by Curtis Lammers to build a 30-foot-by-44-foot garage.

- Received the 2021 weed report.