January 23, 2022

Several Vail-area bridges could receive upgrade from $45M infrastructure infusion

As funds begin to pour into Colorado from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s newly launched Bridge Formula Program, aging Eagle County bridges could soon see an upgrade.

The Department of Transportation launched the Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program — known as the Bridge Formula Program — on Jan. 14. On Thursday, Rep. Joe Neguse confirmed Colorado is among the states receiving $45 million in 2022 from the program, and several Eagle County bridges will qualify. Neguse represents Eagle County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“These federal dollars represent the strong first step towards putting Coloradans to work building and rebuilding the bridges that drive our local economies,” Neguse said.

The funds will be administered by the Department of Transportation and will fix bridges which have been determined to be in poor condition by the Federal Highway Administration’s Bridge Formula Program, while preserving bridges listed as fair.

Century-old structures

In Eagle County, several such bridges are on the Federal Highway Administration’s radar. A staff member with Neguse’s office Thursday confirmed that funding from the Bridge Formula Program is beginning to flow to over 400 Colorado bridges in poor condition in Colorado, several of which are in Eagle County.

The oldest bridge Eagle County, which is being monitored by the Federal Highway Administration, is a 109-year-old structure that crosses the Eagle River in Wolcott near the intersection of Highway 131 and I-70. It’s listed in fair condition. The next oldest bridge crosses the Eagle River on Trail Gulch Road in Gypsum. It’s 105 years old and is listed in poor condition, but is not currently in use.

Neguse described the bridge funding as a “tangible impact” of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in communities across Colorado.

“Northern Colorado communities want to know that they can rely on their highways, roads and bridges, and they want assurances that their safety will always be prioritized,” Neguse said.

Biggest bridge upgrade ever

The Bridge Formula Program is the largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system — providing $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over five years and $825 million for Tribal transportation facilities.

The program was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a press release. “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth, and make people’s lives better in every part of the country — across rural, suburban, urban, and tribal communities.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will appropriate $5.5 billion for the Bridge Formula Program from 2022 through 2026, with each state receiving no less than $45 million each fiscal year.

Colorado is one of several Western states to receive the minimum $45 million per year over five years, along with Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. Oregon will receive $53.6 million per year, Washington will receive $121 million per year, and California will receive $849 million per year, over the next five years. 

 


By:  John LaConte
Source: Vail Daily