Adams County using $1 million federal grant to replace guardrails


Workers replace guardrails along a stretch of road on State Street to the east of the intersection of 59th Street in Quincy.

QUINCY — A $1 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s highway safety program is making it possible to replace about 13,000 feet of guardrails in Adams County.

Clevenger Contractors from Bluffs was awarded the contract. Workers have been replacing guardrails around the county since April. County engineer Jim Frankenhoff believes the work will be complete in a couple of weeks.

“When a million dollars becomes available, it is in our best interest to go after it,” Frankenhoff said. “It’s a statewide program. Other counties have been doing this. It’s money dedicated for safety projects, and guardrail upgrades is one of them.”

Adams County hired a consultant to assist with the grant and drive 250 miles of roads in the county. Frankenhoff said guardrails at or nearly meeting the current standard were not replaced.

“We had some rail that should have been replaced a long time ago,” he said. “We had some sections that were put in during the 1970s that we had been working through to remove anyway, but there were other runs where there was no need to replace the rail. We just started looking at sections, trying to figure out which ones needed to be replaced before we ate up a million dollars. There were a whole bunch of factors that the consultant went through to pick the initial locations.”

Frankenhoff said the county wouldn’t typically replace guardrails unless they had received significant damage. Getting federal money, he said, helps the county save its own money for other road projects. 

“I’m sure there’s still going to be plenty of older rails out there, but now it’s going to be more manageable to get them removed and replaced,” he said. “It’s simply a budgetary thing. For us to just go out and replace a run of guardrail, it takes away from other stuff we could be doing. ”

He said the county spent $100,000, outside of engineering fees, before it received the matching $1 million grant.

“It’s a great rate of return,” he said. “If I can spend $100,000, and I can get a million dollars of somebody else’s money, I’m going to grab somebody else’s money.”

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