Construction begins on Black River Bridge

Construction on a new Black River Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan, can now begin thanks to a signed agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Michigan Department of Transportation for a $30 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Dec. 13.

The money will go toward replacing the existing bridge, which was built in 1963, with a modern structure that will separate international and local traffic and improve the approaching I-94/I-69 corridors and interchanges. Total cost of the project is $78.6 million.

“The Black River Bridge is a terrific example of what the Recovery Act (a.k.a. “the stimulus”) is all about: putting people to work forging a stronger transportation infrastructure,” said LaHood in a written statement. “In addition to creating jobs, it is continuing to improve and deliver transportation projects that are significant in Port Huron and across the country.”

The bridge serves the local Port Huron community and carries fourteen percent of the international trade between the United States and Canada. The new Black River Bridge will provide three dedicated lanes for eastbound local traffic, three dedicated lanes for eastbound international traffic headed to the Blue Water Bridge and Canada, and three westbound lanes to increase capacity and improve traffic operations. It will also offer new transportation options by including a 14-foot wide bike/pedestrian crossing.

“The Recovery Act is working to make all communities more livable – including those linked commercially and economically across national boundaries,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said.

Mendez added that the new bridge will help the area’s future economic growth. It will help reduce border crossing delays and improve commercial and passenger travel between the two countries.

The $30 million was awarded under the Recovery Act’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program. TIGER funding is designed to promote innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.

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The Department announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of ARRA on February 17.