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Ottawa Co. Granted Federal Assistance to Recover From Winter's F - KOAM TV 7

Ottawa Co. Granted Federal Assistance to Recover From Winter's Floods

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OTTAWA COUNTY, OK -

Last winter's floods devastated the Devil's Promenade Bridge connecting Quapaw and Peoria.

Ottawa County District 1 Commissioner John Clark says "I was looking at some very lean times this year as far as road repairs and future maintenance."

The county dedicated all of its resources to get it reopened, money they were hoping to recover. Since the bridge was the asset hardest hit, local officials were under the impression the estimated $300,000 price tag for repairs would qualify them for federal assistance.

Ottawa County Emergency Management Director Joe Dan Morgan says "That was a mistake on our part. We generally go right out and get all these damages assessed prior to FEMA coming in here. And we know what's been harmed and we take pictures and get ready for that process."

But they later found out that the bridge didn't qualify to meet the $113,000 minimum threshold.

Because it's so heavily traveled, deemed a major collector, its ODOT’s responsibility. So the county called FEMA back in again to reconsider.

Morgan says "We went out to seven additional properties and we wound up with a $123,000 of damages this time. So we were added to that process."

With the public assistance now granted, it lifts a big burden off the county and may allow them to take care of future road overlay projects planned.

Commissioner Clark says "It'll actually help reimburse me for the whole month of salaries that I had out here. Plus the equipment time...like I said, put some of these projects that I had scheduled for this year back into the equation."

The bridge has been open to traffic since the end of January. But there is still work to be done. Commissioner Clark says he hopes to have it finished in the next three to four months. Ottawa County has still been denied individual assistance for homeowners and businesses.

   

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