By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer
---- — CAMANCHE — Road construction in the city of Camanche has become a common thing in the last year, but residents can begin to breath easy as one road becomes closer to completion.
Overlay work on Third Street began Thursday, bringing the project one step closer to finalization.
According to City Administrator Tom Roth, the city began planning the project in 2010.
"We first applied for funding in 2010 but didn't make the cut. So, in 2011 we reapplied and were approved," Roth said.
The funding that Roth referred to comes from the Surface Transportation Program of the federal government that offers monetary support to repair federally classified roads.
These STP funds are awarded to the state government, which then creates Regional Planning Affiliations to allocate them to specific regions in the state.
Camanche has never qualified for these funds before because the RPA only distributes them to towns with a population of 5,000 people or more.
"We went up there and said 'hey, this isn't fair. We have federally classified roads that need to be fixed but we can't access that money because we are too small,'" Roth said.
To disperse some of the STP money to smaller towns in the region, larger cities like Clinton, DeWitt and Dubuque started to donate 10 percent of their allocated funds to a "pot" that smaller cities could apply for.
"Those guys with the RPA really deserve a lot of credit. We can't under appreciate what they did for us. It was great teamwork and they are great team players," Roth said.
Once the RPA accepted Camanche's bid for Third Street, the city received $180,000 of federal money that covered 80 percent of project costs. The other 20 percent became the city's responsibility along with some other specific rules.
"If you take federally funded money you have to follow federal requirements. Those requirements can take your project and add thousands of dollars more to your initial bid, so it's really only worth taking the money if you have a quarter-of-a-million dollar project on your hands," Roth said.
Because of those regulations, the Third Street project is over budget from the initial bid, but another road construction project on Ninth Avenue in Camanche is under budget.
To make up for the difference, city officials are attempting to transfer STP funds from the Ninth Avenue project to the Third Street project, but are unsure if the rules and regulations will allow it.
"There are rules for what you can do with this money," said Roth, adding that if the the city is unable to transfer those funds, there are other areas in the city's street repair budget to make up the difference.
With construction wrapping up and funding issues being resolved, Roth feels the Third Street project has been a relatively quick project.
"I would guess we are looking at less than two weeks for completion," Roth said. "This whole project has been a real success story for Camanche and a real success story for the RPA."