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Repair Work Approved For Old Priest Grade

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Sonora, CA — While Tuolumne County government has not received official word from FEMA that the federal government will fund storm repairs needed to open Old Priest Grade, the Board of Supervisors is anxious to get the project going.

The supervisors awarded a $387,000 contract this morning to the Fresno contractor Kroeker, Inc. (who had the most affordable bid) to begin the work.

County staff noted that a FEMA inspector was at the site on August 7, and the agency is aware of the importance of getting the road back open. During public comment, one person spoke about fire concerns and needing Old Priest Grade open as a potential evacuation route.

District Five Supervisor Jaron Brandon posed the question to Blossom Scott-Heim, Supervising Engineer with the Public Works Department, “Have we had projects that we expected to be FEMA reimbursed, or FEMA to fund the repairs of, that they ended up not coming through on?”

Scott-Heim responded, “We have not.”

Other board members indicated that they had the same question.

Board Chair Kathleen Haff moved to approve the contract, and the vote was 5-0.

If for some reason FEMA does not approve reimbursement, the money would have to be taken from other county road projects that are scheduled for completion this budget year.

A timeline for the Old Priest Grade work was not noted at today’s meeting.

To read a story from yesterday about the opening of Tuolumne Road North, following storm damage, click here.