Wisconsin receives $4.15 million in road and bridge emergency repairs from FHWA

Flood SeasonThe Federal Highway Administration has made available $4.15 million in emergency relief funds to Wisconsin to repair roads and bridges that have been damaged by heavy rains and floods.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in the northern part of the state on July 19 after extensive flooding in Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Sawyer and Washburn counties. The total damage is expected to exceed $15 million.

Officials say roads could be closed for weeks in the area. The largest portion of the funds, $2.75 million, will be used to stabilize roads and set up detours until permanent fixes are made to federal-aid highways.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs will receive $500,000 for repairs on the Bad River Reservation to roads and bridges, including the Kakagon Bridge. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest will receive $900,000 for road damage and the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan will get $100,000.

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.