Posted 9/2/2017

Well, the temp bridge is suppose to be on it's way from Denver, Seattle, Oakland or New Jersey? It's suppose to be ready by Semtember 5th? That was the last thing I heard 3 weeks ago. I do know that the contractor has prepared the site and is waiting for the bridge to show up. We are all tired of broken promises so the only true statement is, "The bridge will be installed when it arrives from who knows where."

 

Posted 6/24/2017

Hello Brothers and Co-Workers,

I wanted to take a moment to update everyone on the progress of the temporary bridge installation.  I have been in contact with Jeff Crovitz (Calaveras County Public Works Director) on a regular basis getting updates regarding the bridge and ultimately the permanent repairs to Blagen Rd.  Both Jeff Crovitz and Supervisor Mike Oliviera have been in constant contact with our board regarding the status of the temporary bridge and the process for the funding of the bridge based on CAL OES/ FEMA guidelines.

The original plan by the county was to have the project completely funded by FEMA/CAL OES and for them to not lay out significant monies.  This was plan A.  Well, Plan A didn’t work out.  FEMA will only repair the road to the original status (I.E. the way it was the day before it was washed out).  To do that, the county would have go through all the required FEMA permit, engineering and environmental impact studies.  Needless to say, this would have taken at least 36 months to complete before construction would have even started. 

Because of the failure of Plan A, Jeff Crovitz recommended they go with Plan B.  Plan B was for the Board of Supervisors to purchase the bridge themselves and seek reimbursement from FEMA (there is language in the FEMA process that will allow the county to seek reimbursement for the purchase an installation of the bridge).  The Board of Supervisors approved the funds ($200,000) for the purchase of a temporary bridge on May 23rd.  Due to the fact that the county will be seeking reimbursement from FEMA, they are bound by all the rules, regulations, and guidelines they set forth.  These regulations/guidelines put into place by the federal government come with their own inherent delays.  If the county fails to follow the regulations/guidelines they are at risk of failing to recoup any money they spend on projects that fall under the storm damage of 2017.  One of the guidelines the county has to follow for this project is the public bidding process (because the cost of the work exceeds $50,000).  The job has to be put out to bid for (2) weeks with a (1) week rebuttal term (giving anyone the opportunity to question the winning bid etc.).    There are a lot of other fine details regarding this process that I will not go into but, suffice to say that in my 25 years of dealing with the state and federal government on numerous projects, this is pretty much standard operating procedure.

Some may ask, “Why didn’t we go with Plan B to begin with”?  Well, a short explanation is that the county had to jump through numerous hoops and submit countless reports to FEMA just to get to their application accepted as a disaster area.  Once everything is submitted to FEMA, everything is reviewed, and reviewed, and reviewed again by several layers of government officials.  Once the application is approved, it is only then you find out what FEMA will pay for.  Blagen Rd was not the only funding/repair that the county submitted to FEMA.  It is part of approximately $6.3 million worth of storm damage repairs that the county is seeking funding for from FEMA.  Because of this, the process was slowed considerably.

I know this e-mail may not answer all of your questions.  However, I wanted to give you a slight in-sight as to what has been transpiring the last several months.  Based on the number of meetings, phone calls, conversations myself and the LOOM Board have had with all the parties involved,  I can assure you that both Supervisor Mike Oliviera and CCPWD Jeff Crovitz have been diligently working on our issue.

I also want to let everyone know that contrary to the rumors, the lodge IS NOT CLOSING.  We are hoping to up and running again by the middle to end of July.  Brother Dan Leary will be setting up a “clean up day” at the lodge as the opening date gets closer.  I encourage everyone to come on down and help us clean up and work around the lodge to get it ready to be re-opened.  

Lastly, I want to ask a favor of you all, if you have any questions or concerns regarding what is going on with the road repairs, please contact me  (k9mog@comcast.net or cell 925.759.6375).  I have heard numerous rumors that I and the LOOM Board have spent a lot of time trying to squash since this incident began.  Both from within the lodge and from the public.

Fraternally yours,

Scott Freier
Governor