Union County Highway Superintendent Jerry Buum presented the Union County Board of County Commissioners, Oct. 5, with five joint powers financial and maintenance agreements on six bridge structures in five townships – Big Springs, Virginia, Emmet, Spink and Alcester. Buum explained that if these bridge structures were on the county system and they replace it, then the structures become smaller.

“So we’ll have to have this agreement, if we want to take them off our system,” Buum said. “If we want to replace them. We’ve done one already and the state said ‘Well, if the counties are going to do this, you have to have an agreement with the townships that they would take over the maintenance. Otherwise, you guys have to keep them on your system.’”

The six structures Buum is looking for agreements on have all hydrologic studies completed and have been paid for by the county, along with the Preliminary Engineering (PE) Grants.

“If we put in for a BIG grant [Bridge Improvement Grant], we have to have this agreement with the townships,” Buum said.

Buum made sure to emphasize that the townships have not signed these agreements.

“If the townships don’t sign these agreements, the structures stay on our system,” Buum said.

The commissioners approved signing the agreements.

The board approved signing for three PE grants after letters of protest to the South Dakota Transportation Commission were denied.

The letter of protest was written after the engineers had completed the Hydrologic and Hydraulic studies and the state said that a scour test also had to be completed, but the county would have to pay the full amount instead of the 30 percent that the county is responsible for via the grant. Since the letter was denied, the scour tests cost about $9,000 to $10,000 a bridge. The state requires the county to sign the agreement or they have to pay for the Hydrologic and Hydraulic studies on their own.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.