- Associated Press - Monday, September 18, 2017

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - A state program created to address a backlog of bridge maintenance projects is beginning to make a difference in some Nebraska counties.

The Nebraska Department of Roads awarded a total of $4 million to nearly 70 county bridge projects in January. Counties across the state have applied to the program since last year in hopes of receiving money for failing bridges, the Columbus Telegram reported .

Colfax County Highway Superintendent Marks Arps has received money for two of the five bridge projects he applied for. The two bridges are located east of Howells.

“One totally fell in. The road is closed,” Arps said. “They were some of the worst ones.”

The amount of grant funding allotted for both projects is $107,000, which Arps said will cover some of the materials.

“We would have done it anyway,” he said of the repairs. “(The grant) releases funds for other bridges and other projects that are in dire need of being replaced.”

Arps said he’ll apply for the funds again, but that his county will have a lower priority because it already received money.

“The Department of Roads are doing their best,” he said. “But with the (state) budget shortfall, it’s difficult to ask more from them.”

Platte, Polk and Butler counties have all applied for the program, but none of them received funding. Platte County Highway Superintendent Terry Wicht said he plans to apply again with five bridge projects in mind.

The program is scheduled to end in 2023.

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Information from: Columbus Telegram, https://www.columbustelegram.com

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