County engineers recommend raising taxes to fix broken down brid - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

County engineers recommend raising taxes to fix broken down bridges

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The average bridge in Woodbury, Plymouth and Cherokee counties is about 40 years old. The average bridge in Woodbury, Plymouth and Cherokee counties is about 40 years old.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

The average age of county-controlled bridges in Woodbury, Plymouth and Cherokee counties is about 40 years old.

That may not sound very old, until you consider that many are much older.  In the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, most of the bridges were built from timber.  Engineers say the wear and tear on wooden bridges that span streams, creeks and rivers is especially noticeable.

At a forum in Sioux City, a panel of engineers urged state lawmakers to find more money to help fix infrastructure.

"They're down at that line where things are wet and drying, wet and drying. And, as you know, in your own house or deck, where you're in those conditions where your moisture is fluctuating, that's when wood rot is induced, and it's the same with bridges," said Mark Nahra, Woodbury County Engineer.

In order to help address the shortage of funds, engineers are hoping county leaders can add a 10 cent per gallon gas tax, and increase property taxes by 33 cents for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Nahra says the property tax increase, alone, could mean an extra $300,000 which would mean at least one more bridge could be repaired every year. He says it's gotten to the point where some bridges are in such disrepair that they are no longer safe to cross.

"We have two that are posted less than ten tons, which doesn't even allow a school bus to go over them right now, that are south of Moville along K64," said Nahra.

Nahra says county engineers will meet soon to discuss creative financing, and how much money they'll need in the next few years to repair these damaged bridges and roads.

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