Engineering work continues as funds sought for Basich Boulvard repair

Engineering work for the repair of a washout on Basich Boulevard in Aberdeen continues as the city continues to look at alternative funding methods for what has been estimated to be a $500,000 project.

“The Public Works Department is still working on that project, the engineering work is ongoing, and the goal is to have it shovel-ready as soon as we can,” said Ward 3 Councilman Tim Alstrom at Wednesday’s Aberdeen City Council meeting. Alstrom is also chairman of the Public Works Committee.

“We are still pursuing outside funding to help pay for that project and exploring a low-cost loan if outside grant money is not available,” he continued. “At the present time it’s not fair to say it’s on hold, but there hasn’t been a date set for the start” of repairs.

Basich Boulevard is in the Herbig Heights area of Aberdeen and is an important route to the nearby hospital to the west for residents of the area. The washout has added in some instances about 15 minutes to travel time from the area east of the washout to the hospital.

“I would be curious to know what it would take to build a quick and dirty emergency access road,” said Council President and Ward 6 Councilwoman Dee Anne Shaw, wondering what the cost would be to put in a temporary access road open to emergency vehicles only.

“We did reach out to the geotechnical engineer and they did not recommend that would be a good idea,” said Public Works Director Rick Sangder. That’s because it’s still not certain if, and how much, the ground at the slide area is still moving or how active the slide is currently.

The city has reached out to FEMA for disaster funds after roadway settlement initially closed the road Dec. 22 — the road washed out completely in early January — because the damage occurred between two significant storms. Through county and state emergency management agencies, the city was told emergency funds were not available from FEMA for Basich Boulevard.

“Since we were directed there was no emergency money available we started up the design process again,” said Sangder, which had just been on a temporary hold as the city awaited word on potential FEMA funds. He said the city should be ready to go with a completed repair plan when and if other money for the project can be secured.