Commission approves emergency declaration for County Road 835

A soil nail wall will be built to reinforce and support the weakened area and stabilize the site's upper slope. 

The DeKalb County Commission on Tuesday approved an emergency declaration for County Road 835.

"Although the crews continued working on the County Road 835 project and made good progress," said DeKalb County Road Department Superintendent Tom Broyles. "Due to the recent rainy conditions, some issues have developed."

County Engineer Ben Luther said an area above the current excavation site on the upper slope is breaking loose.

"It's continuing to move, threatening the stability of the site. Not only from a construction standpoint but from a safety standpoint for our people and equipment," he said. "We've done at least around $600,000 worth of work there so far, and with this area continuing to move, it will be an issue."

As part of the Public Works Law, Luther requested the commission declare the area an emergency site and accept an emergency declaration allowing them to expedite the construction of a soil nail wall on the upper slope to stabilize the site.

Per the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, a soil nail wall is reinforcing, passive elements drilled and grouted sub-horizontally in the ground to support excavations in soil or soft and weathered rock.

"We've got to address this in a very timely manner. [The declaration] allows us to bypass the advertising of a public works project," Luther said. "We intend to utilize a Federal Highway Administration recognized federal contractor from the general service administration, a federal agency that puts contracts out for different types of work, specifically emergencies like this."

He said they have met and spoken with GEOStabilization International, the company that built two previous soil nail wall projects along County Road 85.

"The Alabama Department of Transportation recognized this as eligible for reimbursement," Luther said. "This is a federally declared site and we have been receiving an 80% reimbursement for the work."

GEOStabilization International intends to arrive next Tuesday to begin work. He said they provided a proposal with an estimated cost of about $400,000.

"That is really a worse-case high-end scenario based on the unit price that they have," said Luther. "The site will dictate exactly what they have to do once they get started, and we will only pay for actual work done under those unit costs. So, we don't expect it to be that much unless the limits change."

The timeline for completion is said to be approximately three weeks.

The commission unanimously approved the County Road 835 Emergency Declaration following the discussion.

On Tuesday, Luther also briefed the commission on the FY2021 Rebuild Alabama Annual Report, its requirements, and the acceptance of new laws.

The report includes a list of all the projects in the county's resurfacing plan from the last fiscal year.

"Some include rebuild funds and some do not," said Luther. "We received a total of $979,742.10 in the new rebuild funds. That's the new gas tax."

He said that was $61,770.10 more than was originally estimated provided at the beginning of the program.

"Those extra funds were spread evening among the four districts for an additional $15,442.15 per district," said Luther.

The commission accepted the FY2021 Rebuild Alabama Annual Report.

The FY 2021 County Rebuild Alabama Annual Report document is available at www.dekalbcountyal.us.

The commission also:

• approved the placing the order for the purchase of 2023 model dump chassis trucks.

• approved the hiring of Sherrie Johnson to replace Mary Waters, who retired at the DeKalb County Sheriff Office.

• approved the hiring of Hadden Dean to replace Christopher Lee, Brian Freeman to replace Tim Wilson and Elisha Avila to replace Jerry Hall at the Detention Center.

• approved hiring Lee Roberts at the DeKalb County Revenue Commissioner’s Office.

• approved to grant DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow and Administrator Matt Sharp the authority to sign the four resolutions of the American Rescue Plan or ARPA Policies and Procedures and go forward with the adoption of the process.

• approved to send a damage claim to the county’s insurance company involving Valley Joist Inc, employee Jeremy Goza, whose vehicle was damaged in a requested drug sweep, and DeKalb County Sheriff's Office. The claim was sent to be worked out between all parties involved.

Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, Harcrow announced the DeKalb County Commission is reverting to operating with two commissioners on a rotating basis. Commissioner Shane Wootten and Chris Kuykendall were absent from Tuesday morning's meeting.

The next DeKalb County Commission meeting is on Feb. 8, 2022, at the Activities Building at 10 a.m.

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