County approves $775K in bridge repairs

Money to fund repairs comes from federal Farm-to-Table money, not county funds.


MONTROSE – Two bridge repairs and a bridge replacement on the Henry/Lee County Line were approved by Lee County Supervisors at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Lee County Engineer Ben Hull updated the supervisors on the three projects.

The replacement bridge is a bridge that was closed this fall after structural deficiencies were found when the county hired a inspection company to look at all county bridges.

The replacement of the bridge actually carries an $800,000 price tag, Hull said. But since the bridge is on the county line, the two entities will split the cost of the bridge so both will pay $400,000. Hull said Henry County officials are taking the lead on the replacement.

Another bridge is on J50 or 190th Street south of the Iowa Fertilizer Plant in Green Bay bottoms. Hull said that bridge will require some deck patching and some more extensive damage, which will require more detailed work. But he said the bridge will remain open for most of the repairs.

“We have set up the construction to be done under traffic so one half of the bridge will be closed at time, except for maybe 1 to 2 days throughout the project when it has to be closed for testing,” Hull said.

He said the project will carry a cost of about $290,000

The other bridge is on J72 or Ambrosia Lane over Sugar Creek. Hull said this bridge will just need deck patching to keep the bridge more water tight and carries a price tag of $82,000. He said the bridge will be closed for approximately 30 days to through traffic.

The funds for the repairs and replacement will come from federal Farm-to-Market funding and will not come from the county’s regular budget.

In an unrelated issue, the board asked County Attorney Ross Braden to look at the possibility of the county paying a $1,000 annual lease to First Baptist Church in Keokuk for usage of the parking lot west of the South Lee County Courthouse.

County Treasurer Chris Spann said the Department of Motor Vehicles uses the parking lot to hold motorcycle certifications and paints the course on the parking lot. Spann said she has spoken with church leaders about the use of the parking lot and they asked if the county would be willing to donate money to the church in exchange for using the lot.

Spann said Braden told her the county wouldn’t be able to donate money to the church, but could possibly lease part of the parking lot for a set amount.

“I think if they pay somebody to scoop the snow, and it’s getting kind of bad so at some point they are going to have to maybe resurface…. I was thinking even if it was $1,000 a year they could put toward their parking lot,” Spann said.

Supervisor Gary Folluo said he didn’t think that was out of line and said possibly a five-year contract might be in order. Supervisor Matt Pflug moved to put in an offer of $1,000 per year to the church for use of the parking lot. The motion passed 4-0.

In other action, the board took an “informal poll” of each supervisor on whether they wanted to increase funding to county libraries by $10,000.

County Budget Director Cindy Renstrom said during a workshop that followed the regular meeting, that she wasn’t clear on the board’s direction and there was some confusion.

Supervisor Rick Larkin said he thought the board was in favor of increasing the funding to the public libraries in the county, but other supervisors said they thought the thought was to keep it at current funding levels.

Renstrom then asked each supervisor for a yes or no on the issue. Pflug voted no, Larkin voted yes, Renstrom skipped over Board Chair Ron Fedler, Rich Harlow voted no and Gary Folluo voted no. Then Renstrom went back to Fedler who voted yes, at which point Fedler said the funding would remain the same in the next fiscal year budget.

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