FHWA releases $2 million in emergency relief funds for Louisiana’s flood-damaged roads

Flooding in Baton Rouge. Photo credit: Louisiana DOTFlooding in Baton Rouge. Photo credit: Louisiana DOT

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has made $2 million in emergency relief funds available to Louisiana to use for road repairs caused by recent flooding.

“These emergency funds will help the state begin repairs immediately so people can access essential services and get the assistance they need,” says FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “They represent the first installment of federal resources available to Louisiana to reopen all roads.”

At one point more than 280 roads, including sections of two interstates, were closed due to high water levels. Twenty parishes have been affected by the floods in southeastern Louisiana, with Gov. John Bel Edwards declaring a state of emergency in the state.

The total cost of repairs is expected to exceed $10 million.

“The situation in Louisiana is critical, with tens of thousands evacuated from their homes and cut off from vital transportation links,” says Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx. “This natural disaster has been reported to be the worst to hit our nation since Superstorm Sandy – and many residents still face life threatening conditions. We are doing everything we can at the U.S. DOT to help.”

FHWA’s emergency relief program provides “quick release” funds for highways and bridges damaged by catastrophic events or natural disasters to help start repair work and to help agencies make continuing damage assessments.

The program is authorized for $100 million annually through contact authority from the Highway Trust Fund’s Highway Account, but Congress can appropriate more when needed. For example, $410 million was released last December for road and bridge repair projects in 33 states.

The FAST Act continued the $100 million annual funding authorization for fiscal years 2016-2020.