Federal Grants Provide Lifeline to Rural Bridge Assessments

Federal Grants Present Lifeline to Rural Bridge Assessments

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Rural bridges that carry freight are amongst this yr’s winners of $18.4 million in federal grants awarded to states evaluating whether or not to refurbish growing older ones or construct new spans.

The Federal Freeway Administration awarded planning grants for fiscal 2022 to every of 23 states underneath the Bridge Funding Program to pay for early phases of bridge challenge developments.

“These grants will assist communities throughout the nation transfer ahead to modernize their bridges and make it simpler for folks and items to maneuver shortly, reliably and safely to their locations,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated Oct. 12 when asserting the successful initiatives.

Ten of the initiatives are for rural bridges in Alaska, Arizona, California, Illinois, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

Justin Hastie, freeway engineer and supervisor for Gallatin County, In poor health., stated it’s going to spend its $48,000 grant to guage changing the Peabody Street Bridge, a one-lane, 300-foot span over the Saline River constructed by a coal firm.


“The coal mines all closed and other people round right here all misplaced their jobs. It’s an economically depressed space. This bridge was given to the county by the coal firm, however there was no cash given to take care of it,” Hastie advised Transport Matters. “Now we’re at a spot the place we have now to attempt to keep it, and our small county simply doesn’t have the funds for that.”

Immediately, the metal construction is corroding from former coal mud hauled over the bridge, now load posted to 80,000 kilos. It’s utilized by farmers to move largely corn, soybean and wheat to a big unloading facility at Shawneetown Regional Port District for distribution all through the Midwest. Different freight transferring over the bridge consists of sand and gravel.

In 2017, Gallatin County contributed 42,000 tons of largely agricultural commodities to the southeastern port district (positioned there and lengthening to Hardin County and the Shawnee Nationwide Forest. Linked to the Wabash and Ohio rivers, the port’s multimodal connections embrace Illinois routes 13, 141, 142 and 147.

With out repairs, a bridge closure would require a 15-mile detour. Hastie stated a substitute bridge may value greater than $5 million.

“The county simply can’t tackle a challenge like that with out getting grant funding from elsewhere. Our entire funds is lower than half one million a yr,” he stated. “It appears unusual to those that come from larger counties and greater cities. Our entire funds is a rounding error to a whole lot of them.”

In Northern California between Sacramento and the Oregon border, Tehama County will get $320,000 to find out if the 47-year-old Woodson Bridge (with vital scouring on one pier) must be mounted or changed.

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This bridge is one in all 4 over the Sacramento River the county owns and maintains which can be important for distributing items to communities and carrying freight, stated Jessica Pecha, county senior civil engineer.

“The closest river crossings are roughly 9 miles to the north, and 20 miles to the south, making this route important to lowering car miles traveled by rural residents and business suppliers,” she stated, including that the route connects state Route 99 to Interstate 5 offering entry to the county’s solely business truck cease in Corning.

A $720,000 grant to South Carolina Division of Transportation will enable the state to determine what to do with 12 growing older rural bridges over the Nice Pee Dee River, which is threatened by outdated design requirements and flooding. The bridges are of nationwide significance to freight alongside the I-95 hall in Marion and Dillon counties within the northeast nook of the state.

State Transportation Secretary Christy Corridor reacted to the profitable grant software. “That is one other instance of the SCDOT maximizing a possibility to deliver federal {dollars} to South Carolina to deal with the priorities of South Carolinians. We proceed our vigorous planning and programming efforts to align federal {dollars} to satisfy our state priorities.”

In the course of the previous 5 years, the state has spent $15 million to restore this infrastructure as a consequence of upkeep and regional flooding prices. SCDOT famous that higher bridges at that location additionally promote freight actions to and from Inland Port Dillon.

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