Approximately $270 million in funding will be going towards improving off-system bridges throughout the state, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Edwards announced that the $270 million in bridge projects will be funded through the bipartisan infrastructure law President Biden signed earlier this year.
Off-system bridges are structures that on city or parish roads and are not state highways.
The state is set to get approximately $1 billion over the next five years through the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Bridge Formula program.
According to the DOTD, theere are more than 4,700 locally-owned bridges with 747 in need of replacement or repair.
Last year, the DOTD closed 25 locally owned bridges and 31 have been closed in 2022 so far.
DOTD has executed contracts with consultants to speed up the funding’s delivery. The consultants will work with the parishes in each of the nine DOTD districts to determine which bridges will be repaired or replaced. Bridges that meet the criteria specified in the BIL Bridge Formula Program for off-system structures and the FHWA criteria for repair or replacement will be eligible.
“The ability to fully fund these bridge projects will benefit thousands of residents across the state of Louisiana, many of them in rural areas,” Edwards said. “This funding for bridges is just one way we will implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to grow our economy and improve quality-of-life. A special thanks to Sen. Bill Cassidy and Rep. Troy Carter for their support of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“Bridges connect communities and, with an aging infrastructure system, we are actively working to ensure continued connectivity for all types of road users in these parishes,” said DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “Executing a consultant contract for each district will allow us to speed up the project development process and make the most of this historic investment in our infrastructure system while relying on local leadership for prioritization.”
DOTD’s role is to help guide parishes through the process and strategically allocate this funding to address as many eligible structures across the state as possible.
Non-construction costs, such as utility relocation and right-of-way acquisition, will also be included in this funding, which is in addition to what is traditionally available through DOTD’s Off-System Bridge Program.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) Bridge Formula Program will fully fund these bridge projects with federal dollars without the typical local or state match.
To read more about the program, visit this website.