The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced more than $705.7 million in Emergency Relief (ER) funds to help 34 states – including California – as well as American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, make repairs to roads and bridges damaged by storms, floods, and other unexpected events.
“The Department is pleased to reimburse states and territories that have made critical repairs to their transportation infrastructure following natural disasters such as wildfires, storms, and floods,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
FHWA’s ER program reimburses states, territories, and federal land management agencies for eligible expenses associated with damage from natural disasters or other emergency situations. The funds help to pay for the reconstruction or replacement of damaged highways and bridges along with the arrangement of detours and replacement of guardrails or other damaged safety devices.
More than a fifth of the total amount provided Tuesday, Feb. 5 – about $153 million – will be used to pay for repairs to damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. There are also funds directed towards other severe weather recovery efforts, including the wildfires in California.
This Emergency Relief funding includes awards of: more than $12.5 million to repair damage to roads and bridges from wildfires in California in 2018; $1.2 million to repair US Highway 550 Red Mountain Pass in southwest Colorado, after it sustained damaged from a rock slide; and $19.5 million to repair damage caused by Hurricane Michael’s heavy winds and significant storm surge flooding roadways throughout the Panhandle area.
Specifically for California, the emergency relief will address storm damage and flooding on federal lands within the state as well as statewide storm damage over the last few years, the Oroville dam disaster, a July 2018 monsoon event and multiples wildfires.
“These funds will help keep our country’s roads and bridges safe and well-maintained in the aftermath of the hurricanes and other severe storms seen in recent years,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson.