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Missouri roads need estimated $29M in repairs after floods, transportation officials predict

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The calamitous flooding that swept Missouri this spring is estimated to cost more than $29 million in repairs to the state’s roadways, according to data from the Department of Transportation (MoDOT). 

More than $12.4 million has already been spent on various repairs and maintenance expenditures. And with only 83 of 183 sites evaluated, the state agency predicts an additional $16.8 million will be needed to fix the roads from the flood damage. However, some of the most damaged areas in Missouri have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, making the $29 million a “rough estimate,” according to Chris Engelbrecht, the safety emergency management lead for MoDOT.

Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) should end up reimbursing about 75 to 100 percent of the costs — depending on whether the repair projects constitute an “emergency”  — but that aid isn’t necessarily immediate. Federal reimbursements can take anywhere from a few months to several years for larger projects, Engelbrecht told The Missouri Times, noting the state is still waiting on reimbursements from some repairs made in 2015. 

Compared to other years, road damages were more significant in certain parts of Missouri this year, Engelbrecht said. Particularly in northwest Missouri, which was hit twice this year, officials are predicting more expansive damage, although they haven’t yet gotten to fully assess the area yet. 

“Several segments of roadways are missing and bridges will need to be replaced,” said Engelbrecht. 

Since April 29, continuous flooding and storms have caused damage in nearly 80 counties in the state, resulting in 470 road closures. About 114 closure points still remain, MoDOT said in a presentation to its commission Wednesday. A copy of the presentation was provided to The Missouri Times. 

Additionally, catastrophic tornadoes that tore through the state in May have resulted in an estimated $139 million of damages in filed insurance claims, according to the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration (DIFP). 

President Donald Trump has approved disaster declarations in the past two months in Missouri to aid in the aftermath of the flooding, tornadoes, and other severe storms. The declarations allow affected counties to receive assistance from FEMA to help with road, bridges, and other infrastructure repairs and needs due to damage caused by the natural disasters. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation in May announced a release of $2 million in emergency relief funds from the FHW to aid with repairs. The funds were specifically requested by MoDOT, the federal agency said.