BATON ROUGE, La. — Governor John Bel Edwards toured a locally owned bridge in East Baton Rouge today with inspectors from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD). The bridge was deemed deficient and load posted in January 2022. This bridge is one of over 500 off-system bridges eligible to receive approximately $270 million in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Biden earlier this year. Off-system bridges are structures that are located on locally owned roadways (city or parish) and are not state highways.
Louisiana is set to receive approximately $1 billion over the course of five years through the Bridge Formula Program administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Edwards administration has allocated approximately $270 million specifically for the purpose of off-system bridge repair and replacement projects.
The state of Louisiana has more than 4,700 locally-owned bridges, with 747 in need of rehabilitation or replacement. Last year, DOTD closed 25 locally owned bridges, and 31 have been closed this year to date.
DOTD has executed contracts with consultants to speed up the delivery of this funding. The consultants will work with the parishes in each of the nine DOTD districts to determine which bridges will be repaired or replaced. Bridges that meet the criteria specified in the BIL Bridge Formula Program for off-system structures and the FHWA criteria for repair or replacement will be eligible.
“The ability to fully fund these bridge projects will benefit thousands of residents across the state of Louisiana, many of them in rural areas,” said Gov. Edwards. “This funding for bridges is just one way we will implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to grow our economy and improve quality-of-life. A special thanks to Sen. Bill Cassidy and Rep. Troy Carter for their support of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“Bridges connect communities and, with an aging infrastructure system, we are actively working to ensure continued connectivity for all types of road users in these parishes,” said DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “Executing a consultant contract for each district will allow us to speed up the project development process and make the most of this historic investment in our infrastructure system while relying on local leadership for prioritization.”
DOTD’s role is to help guide parishes through the process and strategically allocate this funding to address as many eligible structures across the state as possible.
Non-construction costs, such as utility relocation and right-of-way acquisition, will also be included in this funding, which is in addition to what is traditionally available through DOTD’s Off-System Bridge Program.
The IIJA Bridge Formula Program will fully fund these bridge projects with federal dollars without requiring the typical local or state match. To read more about the program, click here.