KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Following the launch of a historic bridge replacement program by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Tennessee will receive more than $300 million to address highway needs across the state.
The Bridge Formula Program will provide a total of $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over five years as well as $825 million for tribal transportation facilities.
Tennessee will receive a total of $302 million under the new program. The funding will help improve the condition of about 880 bridges in poor condition and to preserve and improve more than 10,700 bridges in fair condition in the state.
In Knoxville, bridges rated in “poor” condition include the Interstate 40 overpass of North 17th Street, the West Baxter Avenue bridge over I-275 and Heiskell Avenue bridge over I-275 known as the Zaevion Dobson Memorial Bridge.
Other notable regional bridges rated in “poor” condition include the I-75 bridge over the Tennessee River in Loudon County and the I-40 bridge over the Clinch River in Kingston.
“This record amount of funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allow states and tribal governments to fix the bridges most in need of repair,” Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “It will also modernize bridges to withstand the effects of climate change and to make them safer for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
“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.”
The total amount that will be available in Fiscal Year 2022 is $5.3 billion along with $165 million for tribes.
The massive project represents the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes an incentive for states to direct the new Bridge Formula Program funds to off-system bridges owned by a county, city, town or other local agency. While states generally must match federal funding with up to 20% state or local funding, the guidance issued Jan. 14 notes that federal funds can be used for 100% of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating such locally owned off-system bridges.