Today, Butler County
Engineer Greg Wilkens announced that funding for repairs to Canal
Road in Fairfield Township, which was damaged by flash flooding
last July, has been made available through FEMA. Wilkens joined
Congressman John Boehner and State Representative Shawn Webster
in an extensive effort to obtain this funding. Almost one year
later, the repair project is now under way, according
the diligent efforts of Congressman Boehner and Representative
Webster who have helped us secure the needed funding to re-open
this road to traffic," Wilkens said.
Canal Road suffered
extensive damage when a portion of the roadway was washed out
the night of July 17-18, 2001, as six to eight inches of rain
deluged the area. Flash flooding from that storm caused millions
of dollars in damage and several deaths in southwest Ohio, triggering
the declaration of a federal disaster. While the Butler County
Engineer's Office (BCEO) promptly repaired most local road and
bridge damage, Canal Road has remained closed since the flooding.
Due to the extent of the damage, the County did not have funding
available to perform the repairs. The federal disaster status
enabled FEMA to fund most of the storm repairs, but Canal Road
posed a special problem.
damage assessment, we were told that since the erosion appeared
to be caused by the adjacent Hydraulic Canal, the Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) has jurisdiction over funding for
any repairs made," Wilkens said. "However, when we
contacted the NRCS, we were told that no funding was available
because the NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program is funded
only through supplemental appropriation legislation. Even if
such legislation were enacted, this project would be placed on
a significant waiting list before funding might be obtained."
Since the NRCS was
unable to fund the Canal Road repairs, Butler County officials
again pursued the matter with FEMA -- this time turning to Congressman
Boehner for his assistance. In a letter to FEMA Director Joseph
Allbaugh, Boehner urged the agency to review all funding possibilities
that could be made available to the Butler County Engineer's
Office. "In the interest of time, the convenience for those
who use Canal Road, and the overall project cost, I would like
to know if this project can be funded through your agency's disaster
relief fund," Boehner stated in the letter.
FEMA reviewed the Canal
Road project once again and determined that since the road is
an eligible public facility, all work integral to the repair
of the road, including correcting the stream bank erosion, is
eligible work, thus allowing FEMA to fund 75% of the costs of
William Powers, Public
Assistance Team Leader for FEMA's Recovery Branch, said, "We
are happy to report that the BCEO will receive $200,000 from
FEMA for Canal Road repairs.
This case is
a lesson in persistence and cooperation when dealing with often-confusing
federal regulations, said Boehner. Im pleased
this worked out for my neighbors in Butler County, and I am happy
I was able to assist the Engineers Office in their efforts
to obtain the funding for the road work.
Now Under Way
Work to repair Canal
Road has begun and is expected to be completed by late August.
A contract for the project was awarded to Sunesis Construction
which submitted a low bid of $299,614. The detour currently in
effect will remain unchanged during construction.