The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced plans to release a program that will dedicate $26.5 billion to states for investments in bridge repairs and infrastructure. The Bridge Formula Program, made possible through the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allocate federal funds over five years to rural and urban bridges that are in need of repair or rehabilitation.
Under this new program, Louisiana will receive approximately $1 billion over five years, with $202.6 million allocated this fiscal year. This funding is available to improve approximately 400 bridges in need of repair or replacement throughout the state.
“Louisiana will be well served by this program, as our funding needs for infrastructure projects are immense,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “I applaud the Biden administration for seeing the transportation needs of our nation, and state, by launching this investment program that will greatly aid our communities. Bridge closures or weight restrictions severely hinder our agriculture, manufacturing and service industries, as well a public transit, commuter travel and school bus routes. Limiting closures will provide a better overall quality of life to our residents, motorists and businesses.”
“This new federal investment comes at the right time as many of our bridges, including those on the interstate system, are 45 to 65 years old,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “The number of bridges falling into poor condition is expected to increase greatly in the coming years and this funding will allow us to make necessary improvements before these bridges deteriorate to the point of closure. Having shared bridge closures with the public for some time, no parish is exempt and problems exist on state and local bridges alike. I am looking forward to using more than the minimum established by USDOT to help locals address their needs as well. This bipartisan bill will allow the state to address many infrastructure needs in the coming years and I am grateful for the work that Senator Bill Cassidy and Representative Troy Carter put in to get this bill passed and for their vision of infrastructure improvement in Louisiana. “
Louisiana has the third largest bridge infrastructure in the nation when the number of bridges and bridge size is accounted for. Currently, there are 7,846 state owned bridges, with 795 needing major rehabilitation or replacement, and 4,736 locally owned bridges, with 793 in need of rehabilitation or replacement.
Some of the bridges projects that will advance this year due to this funding include:
· LA 485 Bridges near Allen Louisiana (Natchitoches Parish)
· LA 1226 over Bayou Chevreuille in Natchitoches Parish
Nationwide, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 bridges. In addition to providing funds to states to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, protect, and construct highway bridges, the Bridge Formula Program has dedicated funding for Tribal transportation facility bridges as well as “off-system” bridges, locally owned facilities which are those not on the federal-aid highway system.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure, which will grow the economy, enhance U.S. competitiveness in the world, create good jobs, and make our transportation system more sustainable and equitable.
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