Franklin County officials are ready to go to bid, again, on a project to replace an 84-foot-long low-water crossing on Boeuf Lutheran Road south of New Haven.
Replacing the roughly 55-year-old slab has been in the works for almost eight years.
The county previously planned to replace the crossing with a bridge, but was unable to obtain right of way from all of the property owners in the area.
On Tuesday county commissioners approved going out to bids for the project. Bids will be accepted until Sept. 18.
“This is long overdue,” Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said.
Earlier this year the county approved another several thousand dollars to MECO Engineering for more soil testing at the site.
The firm has received over $30,000 from the county for work on the project.
Additional testing was required because the county had to change the plan again for a new alignment.
The new alignment is at the same location as the current crossing, but slightly modified to allow for better water flow, said Eva Gadcke, county highway administrator.
Not only have all of the changes cost the county money, but they’ve cost the county a chance at getting federal funds to pay for the project as well.
In 2005, the proposed bridge was included in the region’s Transportation Improvement Program project listing.
At the time, the county planned to replace the low-water crossing with a bridge at a cost to the county of about $116,000.
The federal government would have matched $464,000 for the total $580,000 estimated price tag.
The original contract for design was awarded in May 2005.
But in August 2008, more than a dozen residents met with county officials to object to the plans.
The crossing at Boeuf Creek was closed by MoDOT after the state department deemed it unsafe for travel.
County officials said they wanted to build a bridge because of how often the crossing flooded and its negative impact on emergency response times.
In March 2009, the county approved a contract with MECO for design of a new bridge. Those services were “not to exceed $43,817.”
Because property owners in the area wouldn’t sell the county right of way, and therefore the county couldn’t produce plans for the project by the July 2009 deadline, the county lost out on the federal funds for the bridge.
Rich Wilson, the county’s public works director at the time, said federal restrictions wouldn’t allow the county to use the matching funds to build another low-water crossing.
Property owners opposed the bridge because they said it would flood farmland and destroy crops, and MECO engineers said the bridge would likely cause water to back up behind the bridge during five- to 10-year floods.
The county’s long-range plan calls for the elimination of low-water crossings.
With all of the various changes, the county has now authorized about $75,000 for design work, only about $41,000 less than the estimated cost to the county to build the bridge.