MORAGA (CBS SF) — Local leaders Friday cheered the award of federal funding to Moraga to help pay for the roughly $3.5 million in costs burdening the town after a large sinkhole formed there in March.

Moraga was initially turned down when it requested emergency financial assistance for the response and repairs required after days of downpour caused a sinkhole to open up at Rheem Boulevard and Center Street in the town on March 13.

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Town officials then successfully appealed the decision, allowing Moraga to be fully reimbursed for $545,700 in work done in response to the cave-in as well as being partially reimbursed for nearly $3 million in still-needed repairs.

If all the funding requested of Federal Highway Administration is deemed eligible, the town’s portion of the estimated costs is $338,150 — much lower than the millions that town officials said was “far beyond” what Moraga could afford.

State Sen. Steven Glazer, D-Orinda, and Assemblywoman Catharine Baker wrote in support of Moraga’s effort to secure funding and supported their later decision to appeal the financial assistance denial.

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“The sinkhole was an emergency that needed to be addressed immediately for the safety of Moraga’s residents,” Glazer said in a statement Friday. “Credit should go to state and federal officials and the Town of Moraga for finding common ground to make and fund repairs.”

Planning is already underway for repairs on the town’s main thoroughfare, which collapsed when soil eroded around a 96-inch corrugated metal pipe and voids formed beneath the road’s sidewalk.

The town had originally planned to award a contract for construction immediately but that will be delayed to meet with guidelines of the federal agency providing the funding.

Town officials said this will shorten the construction time prior to the rainy season in mid-October, but plans to divert storm water over the course of the winter will be implemented if construction is not completed by then.

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