WAHOO – The Lower Platte North Natural Resources District wants a second opinion when it comes to fixing flood repair at Lake Wanahoo.

During the Board of Directors meeting on Monday afternoon, the members voted to ask Olsson, an engineering firm out of Lincoln, to take look at the plan to repair and improve the Lake Wanahoo Dam Stilling Basin presented by FYRA Engineering’s Mike Sotak.

The board hired FYRA to work on the plan last fall. In October, FYRA held a kick off meeting to discuss the problems and the path forward.

“Everyone came out of there with a solid understanding of what to do,” Sotak said.

Sotak updated the board on Monday with a lengthy explanation of FYRA’s proposal to fix the damage caused by the March 2019 flood and to mitigate, or improve, the structure. Both parts of the project would use Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds.

Sotak said the flood caused general widening of the outlet channel and pushed rock downstream, including pieces as big as 8,000 pounds.

The plan to fix the basin incorporates the “three Rs,” Sotak said – robust, redundant and reliable.

“We want to make sure we bolster up what’s there as we move forward, especially since we have FEMA helping us to do this,” he said.

Cost was a big issue for the board. Sotak said they estimate the repair will cost $529,000. The improvements will cost the same amount. He said 75 percent of these costs are eligible for cost-share, however.

Initially, FEMA gave a very preliminary estimate of $85,700 for the repair. Sotak said this was extremely low because the agency had only added in the cost of replacing the materials that were removed by the flood, not the other costs associated with the project.

“You couldn’t possibly repair this for $85,000,” Sotak said.

Sotak said the project would be done “in the wet,” meaning they would not have to drain the water away during construction. Draining the water would create a “ton of risk,” Sotak added, and would raise the costs.

“Financially it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Sotak suggested trying for a late summer/early fall time frame for the project because this season has less chance of storms.

After Sotak left the meeting, the board of directors went on to other agenda items, but circled back to the basin project. Board Chairman Gene Ruzicka said some of the board members feel there are discrepancies with FYRA’s numbers.

“Some of us discussed it and we really wouldn’t mind a second opinion,” he said.

Olsson had initially bid the project, but the board went with FYRA because they proposed a new design for the basin.

“The way it was built hasn’t worked,” Ruzicka added.

Even though the board’s counsel, Jovan Lausterer, said they did not need to vote on the plan to ask for a second opinion, the board opted to do so. Bob Meduna made the motion, which was seconded by Larry Feala. All members present voted yes.

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