La. to get about $1 billion for bridges from new federal program

Published 9:06 am Friday, January 14, 2022

Louisiana is expected to receive about $1 billion over five years under the new infrastructure law to address highway bridge needs across the state.

The Federal Highway Administration said the Bridge Formula Program, made possible through the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allocate federal funds over five years to rural and urban bridges that are in need of repair or rehabilitation.

Under this new program, Louisiana will receive $202.6 million this fiscal year. This funding is available to improve about 400 bridges — including two in Southwest Louisiana — in need of repair or replacement throughout the state.

“Louisiana will be well served by this program, as our funding needs for infrastructure projects are immense,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Bridge closures or weight restrictions severely hinder our agriculture, manufacturing and service industries, as well a public transit, commuter travel and school bus routes. Limiting closures will provide a better overall quality of life to our residents, motorists and businesses.”

The money will be used for the Interstate 10 bridge over the U.S. & Missouri Pacific Railroad in Calcasieu and Jeff Davis parishes as well as the I-10 Sabine River Bridges Rehabilitation in Calcasieu.

“This new federal investment comes at the right time as many of our bridges, including those on the interstate system, are 45 to 65 years old,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson. “The number of bridges falling into poor condition is expected to increase greatly in the coming years and this funding will allow us to make necessary improvements before these bridges deteriorate to the point of closure.”

Louisiana has the third-largest bridge infrastructure in the nation when the number of bridges and bridge size is accounted for. Currently, there are 7,846 state owned bridges, with 795 needing major rehabilitation or replacement, and 4,736 locally owned bridges, with 793 in need of rehabilitation or replacement.