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Highway Dept. to apply for grants

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

The Grant County Commissioners approved a request by the Highway Department to apply for two construction grants Monday afternoon. 

The first grant is a federal grant to repair a bridge on Pennsylvania Street, which crosses over the Mississinewa River. The second grant will help pay for construction of a bridge on 700 East, between Ind. 18 and 100 South.

Application for the federal aid grant closes on Dec. 9 and is administered through the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). Should the Highway Department be approved for the funding, the department will only need to pay for 20 percent of the construction. The state will pay the other 80 percent.

The grant money will pay for a new roadway and repair the side rails, according to David White, Highway Department superintendent.

White estimates the construction to cost $2-2.5 million. Construction is slated to begin in 2022, whether the department receives the funding or not.

To receive the funding, the department must present the construction project to an INDOT board. According to White, the department presented a project a few years ago, but was not awarded any funding. White said approval depends on how much money INDOT has available.

The second grant is a Community Crossings Matching Grant administered by INDOT for the bridge on 700 East. The bridge is a 50 percent match and will provide up to a million dollars. Applicants are able to apply for the grant twice a year, with the second round coming up at the end of the year.

"If you don't get it the first round, you can apply again next year," White said.

The funding would replace the entire bridge. According to White, the bridge is obsolete, meaning it is too difficult to update to modern standards. One benefit of the construction would be to remove the weight restriction on the bridge. The bridge is still safe for use.

Construction will cost around a million dollars to complete, according to White.

Both bridges are under contract with engineering firms for design work.

"If we do apply, it will help our chances by saying we have the design work all ready," White told the commissioners. "They want stuff shown for everything so they know the money won't be wasted."

The motion was approved by Commissioner Mark Bardsley and seconded by Commissioner Ron Mowery.

The next Grant County Commissioners meeting will take place on Monday, Dec. 17.