The US Department of Transportation on Friday fired the starting pistol on a programme worth more than $27bn to fix or replace some 15,000 bridges across the country.
Made possible by President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which he signed into law on 15 November last year, the “Bridge Formula Program” announced by US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is claimed to be the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate highway system, which began in the 1950s.
It gives states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico $26.5bn to spend over five years, plus $825m for Tribal transportation facilities. Some $5.5bn will be available this fiscal year.
All states have bridges needing repair or replacing, but the five with the biggest backlog of bridges in poor condition are Iowa (4,571 bridges), Illinois (2,374), Missouri (2,190), New York (1,702) and Louisiana (1,634).
“Modernising America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth, and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – across rural, suburban, urban, and tribal communities,” said Buttigieg.
Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said: “Every state has bridges in poor condition and in need of repair, including bridges with weight restrictions that may force lengthy detours for travelers, school buses, first responders or trucks carrying freight.”