President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Is Repairing Thousands of Bridges Across the Country
Today, President Biden is traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to visit the Fern Hollow Bridge, which collapsed on the day the President was visiting Pittsburgh eight months ago. In less than a year, the State of Pennsylvania and City of Pittsburgh have made significant progress in rebuilding the bridge – made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Thanks to strong federal, state, and local government partnership, the Fern Hollow bridge is on an accelerated track to be rebuilt in a single year, compared to a 2- to 5- year timeline common for a similar bridge project.
The Fern Hollow bridge is one of the nearly 45,000 bridges in poor condition across the United States that need to be repaired or replaced. For decades, American presidents have promised to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure but did not deliver. President Biden brought together Democrats, Independents, and Republicans to pass the most transformative investment in infrastructure since passage of the Eisenhower-era Interstate Highway Act of 1956. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $40 billion investment to repair or replace bridges across the country. In less than a year, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds are being put to work to begin to repair, rehabilitate and replace over 2,400 bridge projects across the United States, exceeding President Biden’s goal for the first year. Like the Fern Hollow Bridge, these bridges can be life lines for communities, connecting families to their loved ones, students to school, workers to their jobs, and providing critical access and evacuation routes in case of an emergency. That is why the Biden-Harris Administration has hit the ground running to rebuild bridges across the country.
In January, the Department of Transportation (DOT) launched the new Bridge Formula Program, which provides funding for states, tribes, and territories to repair bridges over five years, including $5.5 billion in 2022. Over the past year, states, tribes, and territories have used this funding to begin to repair, rehabilitate, or replace 2,400 bridge projects across the country. This includes some critical bridges for communities such as:
- The I-270 Bridge over the Mississippi River which connects St. Louis, Missouri and Madison, County Illinois. This bridge was built in 1966 and carries over 50,000 vehicles per day and is an important route for trucks transporting goods across the Midwest.
- The Dare Country Bridge in North Carolina which connects Roanoke Island to the mainland of North Carolina and is one of the longest bridges in the state.
- The I-65 Bridge over the Sepulga River in Alabama which was built in 1960 and is an important transportation route for this rural community.
Last week, DOT announced another $5.53 billion in funding in fiscal year 2023 funding through the Bridge Formula Program for states, Tribes, and territories to continue the important work of rebuilding our nations bridges.
In September, DOT announced $1.6 billion in awards to improve transportation systems and strengthen our supply chains through the INFRA program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. As part of this announcement, DOT awarded funds to several important bridges in need of repair, including funds to:
- Replace the existing I-39/90/94 Wisconsin River Bridge with two new bridge spans. The project will help to support a critical route for economic hubs in Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago and keep an important link in the supply chain operational.
- Rehabilitate the 100-year-old Rockport Railroad Bridge in Kentucky that serves as a vital link for the transportation of commodities such as grain, lumber, steel, coal, and petroleum along the railway.
- Rehabilitate the Newport Pell Bridge, a 4-lane suspension bridge that carries Route 138 over the Narragansett Bay and connects mainland Rhode Island to Newport.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also provides $12.5 billion for a new Bridge Investment Program to help repair some of the nation’s most economically significant bridges. In June, DOT opened applications for the first round of funding available for this program in 2022. Last week, DOT announced funding to support planning for 23 bridge projects to create a pipeline of construction-ready projects. Some notable bridge planning projects include:
- The I-5 Columbia River Bridge which connects Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Replacing this bridge has been an ongoing issue in the region for decades, and this project would greatly reduce congestion and improve freight movement in one of the West Coast’s most significant economic corridor.
- The Iowa River Bridge Improvement Project to replace two existing bridges on Burlington Street and State Highway 1 with a single structure.
- The Kodiak Sargent Creek and Russian River Bridges in Kodiak Island, Alaska to replace two bridges in this rural area.
- The Flathead County Bridge Improvement Project in Montana to help preserve four important bridges in the county: The Dry Creek Bridge, the Swift Creek Bridge, the Baker Avenue Bridge, and the Whitefish Stage Bridge.
- East River Bridges Capital Program in New York City to support the planning of a 30-year capital construction program to repair the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, and the Ed Koch Queensboro bridge.
DOT plans to announce the awards for large bridge projects through the Bridge Investment Program later this year.