Fremont County was awarded $16,629,263 in projects from the Iowa Department of Transportation last week for highway and bridge projects on the Interstate.

Dan Davis, Fremont County Engineer, says the money is not going to the county, but rather it is just the State completing projects they already had planned. He said the money would be spent over three years.

Fremont County was awarded $16,629,263 in projects from the Iowa Department of Transportation last week for highway and bridge projects on the Interstate. Dan Davis, Fremont County Engineer, says the money is not going to the county, but rather it is just the State completing projects they already had planned. He said the money would be spent over three years. Davis said very few counties and cities received stimulus money. “I think in our RPA (regional planning agency) Montgomery, Cass and the city of Atlantic got money,” he said. “That was just if you were lucky enough to have a plan that was ready to be let, that the timing worked out that you were at that point.” Davis hopes that because the three communities are getting stimulus funds, when it comes time to collect regular funds, Fremont County may get more. “I’m hoping they have it so it balances out,” he said. Iowa is wasting no time putting federal stimulus funds to work as transportation officials award their first construction projects using stimulus dollars. Within three days of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act being signed into law, Governor Chet Culver announced 19 highway and bridge projects totaling more than $56 million are moving forward. The DOT let and awarded contracts for projects on I-29 in Fremont County to Godberson-Smith Construction Co. of Ida Grove. Work will include I-29 over Plum Creek 0.5 mile south of Fremont County Road J-24 (includes two bridges and paving of the northbound and southbound lanes); I-29 over Fremont County Road J-24 (includes two bridges and paving of the northbound and southbound lanes); I-29 from 1.5 mile north of Fremont County Road J-26, north to 1.5 mile north of county road J-24 (concrete overlay of northbound lanes and hot-mix asphalt resurfacing of southbound lanes). Work on I-29 will continue north into Mills County. Mills County received $14,458,383 in projects funded by stimulus funds. Mills County work will include I-29 southbound and northbound over Saint Mary’s Creek, 0.9 miles south of Iowa 370; and I-29 from 3 miles north of the north junction of U.S. 34 north to the Pottawattamie County line (includes two bridges and overlays of the northbound lanes and southbound lanes). "Creating jobs by investing in our infrastructure is a critical step to turn around our economy,” said Governor Culver. “As Governor, I want to make sure that we are putting federal stimulus funds to use as soon as we can in order to create and retain good jobs in Iowa." Earlier today, Iowa Department of Transportation Director Nancy Richardson informed the Governor that the department was awarding 19 contracts worth $56.6 million in highway and bridge projects using a portion of the approximately $358.2 million in federal highway stimulus funding appropriated to Iowa. Bids for the projects were opened on Tuesday, the day that President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. “By utilizing federal stimulus funding for these ‘ready-to-go’ projects the Iowa DOT will be able to accelerate or add other highway projects to the state’s five-year transportation improvement program, something that would not have been possible without the stimulus funding,” said Richardson. Work will begin on the projects just as soon as weather conditions permit. This means hundreds of jobs for Iowa road builders and designers, increased demand for related supplies and services, and further economic development in Iowa around the improvements. “The combination of federal stimulus funds along with my proposal to improve Iowa’s infrastructure puts our state ahead of many places in the nation in being able to move our economy forward,” added Governor Culver. “By helping businesses create good jobs, every aspect of our economy will benefit."