FHWA Announces $2.1 Billion for Four Large Bridge Projects
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President Joe Biden on Jan. 4 visited the worn-out Brent Spence Bridge in Kentucky as part of the administration’s renewed push to highlight the bipartisan infrastructure law. On the same day, the Federal Highway Administration announced $2.1 billion in first-round grants for repairs for four “economically significant” bridge projects.
“I believe it sends an important message, an important message to the entire country,” Biden said from a stage overlooking the soon-to-be-renovated bridge, according to the Associated Press. “We can work together. We can get things done. We can move the nation forward, but just drop a little bit of our egos and focus on what is needed in the country.”
The administration also said it has plans to make available $40 billion in future years for improvements to thousands of bridges.
“These first large-bridge grants will improve bridges that serve as vital connections for millions of Americans to jobs, education, health care and medical care, and help move goods from our farms and factories,” Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg said. “And over the next four years, we will be able to fund construction for the pipeline of shovel-ready projects we are creating through Bridge Planning Grants.”
“Safe, modern bridges ensure that first responders can get to calls more quickly, shipments reach businesses on time and drivers can get to where they need to go,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg added.
The first round is one piece of the Biden administration’s largest dedicated investment in highway bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system, with nearly $40 billion over five years that will help repair or rebuild 10 of the most economically significant bridges in the country along with thousands of bridges across the country, FHWA said.
Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, #CTDOT is doing more projects, expanding & accelerating current projects, & providing more jobs than ever. Thank you to our federal and state partners for the support! #BIL #IIJA pic.twitter.com/kNLOJ8wGlY — Connecticut Department of Transportation (@CTDOTOfficial) January 4, 2023
The first Large Bridge Project Grants, awarded in fiscal 2022:
- The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will receive $1.385 billion to rehabilitate and reconfigure the Brent Spence Bridge to improve interstate and local traffic flow between the interconnected Kentucky and Ohio communities on either side of the Ohio River. Officials said the current bridge is the second-worst truck bottleneck in the nation and carries more than $400 billion in freight per year. The project will separate Interstate 75 traffic from local traffic, making commutes quicker and improving freight passage.
- The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District in California will receive $400 million to replace, retrofit and install critical structural elements on the Golden Gate Bridge to increase resiliency against earthquakes. The span is vital to an estimated 37 million vehicles crossing the bridge per year, including 555,000 freight trucks, as well as waterborne commerce through the Golden Gate Strait connected to the Port of Oakland.
- The Connecticut Department of Transportation will receive $158 million to rehabilitate the northbound structure of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge, which is part of the I-95 corridor over the Thames River between New London and Groton, Conn. The bridge carries five lanes of traffic and 42,600 vehicles per day and is a vital connection for people and goods traveling between New York and New England.
- Chicago will receive $144 million to rehabilitate four bridges over the Calumet River on the south side of Chicago. The Calumet River connects Lake Michigan with the Lake Calumet Port District, which is further connected to the Illinois River, providing access to the Gulf of Mexico. Each bridge lifts an average of 5,000 times per year, providing continuous and safe access for marine traffic to and from the port and surrounding industry.
“The grants will fund construction for four projects that connect communities in five states and are vital to the everyday lives of working people and freight travel that supports our national economy,” FHWA said in a statement. “Improvements to the bridges will address significant safety issues for drivers and delays in the movement of freight.”
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