The Federal Highway Administration has issued the first round of large bridge project grants from the Bridge Investment Program established by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021.
FHWA noted that its Bridge Investment Program will provide nearly $40 billion over five years to help repair or rebuild bridges across the country. The agency said in a statement that the first round of grants via the Bridge Investment Program provides $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2022 funds to four projects, two of which are overseen by state departments of transportation.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet gets $1.385 billion to rehabilitate and reconfigure the existing Brent Spence Bridge to improve interstate and local traffic flow between the interconnected Kentucky and Ohio communities on either side of the Ohio River. The current bridge is the second worst truck bottleneck in the nation and carries more than $400 billion in freight per year. The project includes construction of a new companion bridge immediately west of the existing bridge to accommodate interstate through traffic on two bridge decks, as well as complete reconstruction of eight-mile interstate approach corridors both in Ohio and Kentucky, replacing 54 additional bridges. The project will separate I-75 traffic from local traffic, making commutes quicker and improving freight passage along this critical corridor.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation receives $158 million to rehabilitate the northbound structure of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge, which is part of the Interstate 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 on the I-95 corridor for people and goods traveling between New York and New England. The rehabilitation will address structural repairs, increase load capacity and eliminate a load restriction for overweight vehicles. Additionally, the project will add a new multi-use path to foster bike-sharing and pedestrian access to transit services.
Concurrently, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District in California gets $400 million to replace, retrofit and install critical structural elements on the Golden Gate Bridge to increase resiliency against earthquakes, while Chicago receives $144 million to rehabilitate four bridges over the Calumet River south of the city.
FHWA noted that large bridge project grants via the Bridge Investment Program are available for bridges with total eligible project costs over $100 million, with minimum grant awards of $50 million, and maximum grant awards of 50 percent of the total eligible project costs. As part of the selection process for this first round of grants, priority consideration was given to projects ready to proceed to construction, as well as those that require pre-construction funding and would benefit from a multi-year grant agreement.
In addition to the four FY 2022 large bridge project grants noted above, FHWA is also providing a $1.6 million grant to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance “critical planning work” in support of replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges over the Cape Cod Canal. That project seeks to improve the flow of roadway traffic between Cape Code and mainland Massachusetts as those two bridges provide the only means of vehicular access across the canal. That award is in addition to the $18.4 million in bridge planning grants issued by the agency issued in October 2022 to 23 projects in 23 states. Information courtesy of the FHWA.