DOT releases $460,000 to Washington State for emergency repairs to infrastructure destroyed by wildfires

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Washington State Wildfires
Flames from the Cold Springs Canyon Pearl Hill wildfire encroach on Wells Dam on Sept. 7, 2020, near Azwell, Washington. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review via AP)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Sept. 25 announced the immediate availability of $460,000 in “quick release” emergency relief (ER) funds to help the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) repair damages from recent wildfires.

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Hot, dry weather conditions in Washington State led to multiple ongoing wildfires earlier this year. Strong winds in early September aggravated the situation, causing one of the quickest and largest wildfire seasons to erupt in the state’s history. The wildfires destroyed traffic-control devices and other highway infrastructure, and charred terrain caused slope destabilization and rock crumbling.

According to the FHWA, these “quick release” funds will make it possible to make immediate repairs to roads and bridges and avert further damage. The agency’s ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. The funds are an initial installment of funds used to restore essential traffic and to limit further highway damage.

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