Arizona one of 25 states that qualify for federal funds to improve bridges

Photo By Walt Mares: The Zorilla Bridge spans the San Francisco River.

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WASHINGTON DC – The Federal Highway Administration published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on Friday in the Federal Register for rural states to compete for $225 million in Competitive Highway Bridge Program (CHBP) grants.

“Bridges are an integral part of our infrastructure, and these funds will help rural states ensure that their bridges remain safe and well-maintained,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

By law, the funds are restricted to states with a population density of fewer than 100 people per square mile. Twenty-five states qualify: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Photo By Walt Mares: Reddish-brown primer paint can be seen at one end of the Zorrilla St. Bridge in Clifton. Most of the century-old bridge is covered with silver paint, which on some parts of the bridge, had eroded and revealed the primer beneath it. The paints contain lead and will be removed this fall in a $1.1 million facelift.

The funds must be used for highway bridge replacement or rehabilitation projects on public roads that leverage the efficiencies associated with “bundling” at least two highway bridge projects into a single contract.

“This program represents an important funding source to repair and replace bridges,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson. “Bundling projects will relieve rural bridge owners of administrative burden and capitalize on buying in bulk, which will make it easier for bridge repairs or replacement projects to begin.”

Congress funded the CHBP grant program in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, from the U.S. Treasury’s General Fund. State Departments of Transportation in the eligible states are invited to apply under the program. 

The NOFO is available at the Federal Register.