Several State DOTs Win Major Bridge Grants from FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration recently issued nearly $300 million in grants for nine small and medium-sized bridge projects in both rural and urban areas of eight states and the District of Columbia; money provided through the new Bridge Investment Program established by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, which was enacted in November 2021.

[Above: Everett Lott, director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation, at the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge. Photo by DCDOT.]

FHWA made its first disbursements from the Bridge Investment Program in January, issuing $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2022 funds to four bridge projects, two of which are overseen by state departments of transportation.

Photo by USDOT

The agency added that the Bridge Investment Program will disburse $12.5 billion worth of grants over the next five years to rebuild, repair, and replace small, medium, and large bridges. This program, building on $2.4 billion provided last year – complements the $27.5-billion Bridge Formula Program launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation in January 2022 under the IIJA.

“When bridges have to close for repairs – or worse, begin to fail – it can cut off access to an entire community, adding hours to commutes, costing money for local businesses, and delaying first responders from getting to an emergency,” said  Pete Buttigieg, USDOT secretary, in a statement. “The grant awards we’re announcing today are helping communities of all sizes modernize their bridges so that school buses, delivery trucks, ambulances, and commuters can get where they need to go quickly and safely.”

Photo by FHWA

“Bridges tie together communities across our country – large and small,” added FHWA Shailen Bhatt.

“Over the next five years, the Bridge Investment Program will help repair, replace, and rehabilitate structures that allow working people to get to their jobs, families to get their kids to school, and truck drivers to get goods to store shelves. That is an investment in our country’s economic strength and in the safety and long-term growth of the communities nearby,” he said.

The state DOTs receiving grants from this second bridge funding disbursement include:

  • The Michigan Department of Transportation is getting $73 million to replace that Lafayette Bascule Bridge – an 85-year-old, bascule-style structure spanning the Saginaw River – with a new bascule bridge. This bridge is an important link in the transportation network for Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region, FHWA said, with an estimated 16,000 vehicles crossing it every day.
  • The South Carolina Department of Transportation is getting $51.2 million to help replace six rural bridges that range from 68 to 101 years old. Those bridges serve multiple communities that heavily rely on them to travel to work and school, FHWA said, as well as transporting goods across the state and region. The agency noted those bridges handle an estimated 13,000 vehicles per day.
  • The Texas Department of Transportation will get $14 million to replace the US-59 San Antonio River Bridge over the San Antonio River, which is located fewer than 70 miles from three key water ports (the Port of Corpus Christi, Calhoun Port Authority, and Port of Victoria) and within 150 miles of Port Laredo, the country’s largest inland port along the U.S./Mexico border. Over 4,200 vehicles cross this bridge every day, FHWA said.
  • The District of Columbia Department of Transportation will get $72 million to rehabilitate the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge, also known as the northbound I-395 bridge. This is a four-lane, nearly half-mile-long structure carries people and goods from Arlington, Virginia, over the Potomac River to Washington, D.C. FHWA noted that more than 88,000 vehicles cross this bridge every day.
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