Progress is continuing on an East 29th Avenue viaduct project in Columbus, with the bid process expected to start this summer.
Platte County Highway Department Administrative Assistant Jane Cromwell gave an update during the Platte County Board of Supervisors regular meeting held May 23.
Eighty-five percent of the cost is covered by federal funds through the State of Nebraska, with the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) leading the project.
Cromwell said the Union Pacific railroad is paying for 10% of eligible costs.
“NDOT's share of 85% of eligible costs that the Union Pacific is not going to share is the mechanical stabilization wall or the frontage roads,” she said during the meeting. “…It’s what's above the railroad, that's the only part that they're paying for.”
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The majority of the right of way filings have been taken care of, except for one that is nearing completion, Cromwell said. She added she is working with Cornhusker and Loup public power districts on agreements for utility coordination.
“We're coming up to the point where right now they're still considering bid letting on June 15, there's a possibility that it might go until July 20,” Cromwell said. “We've got three weeks that we have to publish (for the bid letting), we've got the right of way, we've got the utilities and we also have to have our agreement with the state in place.”
Cromwell said she hopes to present that agreement at a June meeting.
The board approved appointing Cromwell as the project liaison for the viaduct. This was previously filled by a supervisor who is no longer on the board.
Mainelli Wagner & Associates Inc. has been selected as the construction engineer.
Cromwell told the Telegram that project costs can change after the bid process is complete but the current total estimate is $27,417,054.84. Platte County’s portion is $3,725,639.21, though the county is expected to receive a credit for the amount it’s already spent on the project – $614,709.17. The state’s portion, being funded with federal dollars, is $22,834,725.63.
She added that a construction engineering contract will also need to be in place.
In other business, supervisors OK’d a number of items for the Columbus-Platte County Joint Communications Center (JCC), including the JCC’s 2023/2024 budget.
Communications Director Rachel Pensick said the overall budget is $2,740,637 with an expected revenue of $637,998; that leaves $2,066,639 to be covered by the tax levy.
Typically, Pensick said, the county is billed monthly for exact costs, which can range from $95,000 to $200,000. Twelve equal payments throughout the year will be done going forward, so everybody knows what’s expected. Any leftover funds, she added, would be applied to next year’s budget as carryover revenue.
Supervisors also approved an agreement for Dr. Mark Howerter to serve as medical director of the JCC. Pensick said this will allow them to complete their emergency medical dispatch (EMD) program.
The cost, for the first year, is $616 a month plus a reimbursement of up to $200 for the purchase of a reference book or trade journal subscription.
Initially, Pensick said, Howerter would have oversight over the questions on guide cards that are used in determining a caller’s chief complaint.
“Then going forward, he would help our quality control to make sure we are completing our tasks,” Pensick said. “Any changes in the guide cards, he would have to approve. Any additional guide cards that would come in later, he would have to approve.”
An AVTEC radio console, to be used as a backup radio, had been OK’d as well, at a cost of $106,290.80.
Pensick said this is needed in the event that the JCC would have to evacuate its building.
“The most reasonable location would be to put it here at the (Platte County) Courthouse. The courthouse already has all the radio equipment available for us to be a completely separate radio solution,” Pensick said. “If we were to look at other sites, it would be six or seven times the cost, so this is to purchase a console to be put (there).”
The Platte County Board of Supervisors also:
- OK’d a request from Platte County Sheriff Ed Wemhoff for the purchase of three Tasers at a cost of up to $4,500.
- Held discussion on work on a county-owned parking lot located on 26th Avenue; it was tabled for a future meeting.
- Heard a proposal from Colonial Life Insurance on supplemental insurance for county employees.
Hannah Schrodt can be reached at email@example.com.