U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces $25 Million to Fund Bridge Improvements in Maine
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced the recipients of $225 million in Competitive Highway Bridge Program (CHBP) grant funding, including $25 million for Maine to fund bridge improvements on the I-295 corridor and in rural Franklin County. Awarded to 20 projects in 18 states, the grants will fund a variety of bridge improvements including replacement and rehabilitation.
“This $225 million in federal funding will enable 18 states to make vital upgrades to select bridges in rural areas,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Using advanced techniques, Maine will receive $18.9 million to replace four rural bridges on the I-295 corridor in Cumberland County that were built in the 1950s and are now in poor condition. I-295 is a vital corridor for Maine’s economy, connecting to markets and ports in New England and serving the tourism industry.
The state will also receive $6.1 million to replace three rural bridges in Franklin County using advanced techniques. The project supports the local forest products industry and improves access to tourism destinations.
By law, the funds were restricted to states with population densities of less than 100 people per square-mile based on census data. Twenty-five states met program qualifications.
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. Bundling offers cost and time savings, which are beneficial to reducing the transportation project backlog. It allows the opportunity to address many projects facing similar needs using innovative replacement and rehabilitation strategies in a cost-effective manner.
The 20 projects selected significantly demonstrate these benefits and support the Department’s priorities.
“The projects funded under the program will serve as models for similar bridge improvement projects throughout the nation,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “They are examples of how to achieve time and cost savings through innovation.”
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 25 eligible states were invited to apply under the program.