McCOOK, Nebraska -- Out of the blue, 13 years later, the federal government has come through with funding to armor coat a county road in Red Willow County, Nebraska.
Monday morning, county commissioners signed documents needed by the Nebraska Department of Roads (through which the federal money is funneled) to add another layer of armor coating to 2 1/2 miles of County Road 386 starting at the north end of McCook's East 11th. The federal government's share for the project will be $1,380,600; the county's share will be $276,120.
So, where's that money going to come from since commissioners didn't plan on having to come up with it? "From the roads department budget," commission chairman Earl McNutt said during the commissioners' weekly meeting. "But we definitely won't be buying a new road grader now."
The road paving project was designated a federal aid project in 1999, and nothing happened until this last minute -- federal funds for road projects are ending, and the project must be bid before the end of the year.
Construction may not start until next spring, McNutt said.
"We thought this was almost dead in the water," McNutt said. "It's been kicked around since 1999 ... but it's been revived," fellow commissioner Steve Downer said, with a chuckle. "Well, we won't have to armor coat it for a couple years ... "
"Maybe we're not home free yet ... ," Downer mused, looking over an agreement for the preparation of "green sheet" (environmental) documents. Commissioners agreed to hire Olsson Associates to prepare those environmental papers.
McNutt said it was two to three months ago that commissioners were told that much of Red Willow county's paperwork on the project was lost by the Department of Roads and needed to be reproduced for the project to move forward.
Even now, some of the existing paperwork indicates that Kyle Potthoff (who works for the City of McCook) is the "RC" (Responsible Charge Person) on the county's road project. Commissioners changed that to Karl Elmshaeuser of West Central Nebraska Development District, and mailed off the project program agreement paperwork.