Otoe County bridge projects were on the agenda for the Otoe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Commissioners voted to submit the shovel-ready plans for replacing a bridge at F Road and Highway 2, west of Unadilla, to the state of Nebraska as the county’s first-round application for Federal Fund Purchase Program assistance.
Each county is allowed to submit $150,000 in projects for the state’s consideration, said Tim Nelsen, board chairman.  
Selected projects will receive 70 percent of the requested funds up front, said Nelsen, with the remaining 30 percent paid after the project is complete.
The first round of submissions are due this week, he said, and the second round of projects can be submitted for state consideration in about 90 days.
Nelsen also began discussions to replace an existing hanging bridge from the 1880s at County Road 46 and O Road ahead of the state’s planned closure of Highways 67 and 128 to replace two bridges near Lorton.
No definite start date has been announced for the Lorton bridge-replacement projects, said Nelsen, but the proposed detour from the state means that first responders and residents may have to travel up to 9 miles out of their way to reach Talmage and Lorton.
If the existing bridge were replaced, it would cut 8 miles off the proposed detour at a cost of approximately $1 million.
“If we don’t do it now, we won’t have a way across,” said Nelsen. “We’re skirting with disaster if we do nothing.”
He added that the state’s estimated timetable for replacing the two bridges is between 24 and 28 months.
The board directed County Road Lead Supervisor Jon Brinkman to obtain a bid from Mainelli Wagner for the cost of an engineering study on the project.
The commissioners approved a one-year extension to the Law Enforcement Services Interlocal Agreement with the City of Syracuse.
According to Otoe County Attorney David Partsch, the agreement “maintains the status quo while we work out a longer term deal.”
He said negotiations will begin by next April at the latest to work out a long-term deal.
In other matters, the board
n approved an independent contract between the Otoe County Visitors Bureau and Kelsey Wiiest; and
n authorized Otoe County Treasurer Nicki Baker to invest up to $500,000 of county funds in certificates of deposit.
Prior to the Otoe County Board of Commissioners meeting, the group met as the Otoe County Board of Equalization to set levies for the taxing entities within the county.
The next meeting of the Otoe County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25 at the Otoe County Courthouse.