Utah Receives $800,000 Grant to Assess 40 Bridges on I-84
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Utah is receiving an $800,000 federal grant to determine how to repair or rebuild 40 at-risk bridges along a rural freight corridor.
The Federal Highway Administration planning grant was awarded to the Interstate 84 Uintah Junction to Echo Junction Feasibility Study that will be conducted by the Utah Department of Transportation. Uintah Junction takes its name from the town Uintah, located 25 miles north of Salt Lake City at the mouth of the Weber River. The other junction in the project is named for the town of Echo, a former Pony Express canyon trail.
This UDOT study was among 23 chosen from across the nation by FHWA for its fiscal 2022 Bridge Investment Program Planning grant awards totaling $18.4 million. When the grants were announced Oct. 12, Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg noted the funded projects “will be used to create a pipeline of future bridge construction projects to improve safety, add or improve multimodal access, support economic competitiveness and to provide resilient highway infrastructure that is better able to withstand the effects of climate change.”
“This section of I-84 sees a lot of truck traffic. This section of the interstate connects to I-80 at the east end, then runs northwest through Idaho before connecting with Portland in Oregon. It’s a major trucking route,” said Mitch Shaw, UDOT senior communications manager.
I-84 is an east–west roadway linking northern Utah with southern Idaho and Oregon. Utah boasts a freight network with 937 interstate miles, 737 rural miles and 112 urban miles.
Shaw said the federal dollars will help improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of the I-84 corridor for people and freight.
Did You Know?
Utah’s has experienced a 30% growth in freight tonnage during the past 15 years. Annually, trucks there move 68% (8 billion tons) of the 11.7 billion tons of freight valued at $13.6 trillion.
Source: Utah Department of Transportation 2017 freight plan summary
UDOT data from 2020 determined the annual average daily traffic on I-84 near the Uintah junction was 20,000 vehicles, with nearly 30% being trucks.
The 40 aging bridges to be evaluated are located along a rural 31-mile stretch of I-84. There are 3,717 bridges in Utah, of which 1,867 are maintained by the state.
Shaw said that the condition of the 40 bridges varies depending on the bridge. Routine maintenance has been done, with repairs including some bridge deck replacements.
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“These are overpass bridges that cross over the Weber River or Union Pacific rail tracks. The bridges were built with the interstate, which was in the late 1950s and early 1960s,” he said, adding that the UDOT district engineer said these old bridges generally are in good condition,
However, the feasibility study is needed since Utah officials have not done any full bridge replacements on this section of I-84.
FHWA noted that the study will lead toward a future I-84 bridge project bundle to address any of the 40 bridges at risk of falling into poor condition. UDOT will use the grant to document a course of action for rehabilitating or preserving the bridges, identify a future capital improvement project and reduce the total person-miles traveled over bridges in poor condition.
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