WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced in late June that the Biden-Harris administration plans to award $905.25 million to 24 projects in 18 states under the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program.
“These timely investments in our infrastructure will create jobs and support regional economies, while helping to spur innovation, confront climate change, and address inequities across the country,” Buttigieg said.
According to the USDOT, funding is prioritized to rural areas to address historic underinvestment. About 44% of proposed funding will be awarded to rural projects.
INFRA projects were rated on the extent they applied innovative technology and whether they could deliver projects in a cost-effective manner.
USDOT evaluated 157 eligible applications from 42 states, as well as Guam. Applicants collectively requested approximately $6.8 billion in grant funds, more than seven times the funding available. As required under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Congress has 60 days to review the department’s proposed project awardees. After the review period, the department is free to begin obligating funding.
The following are a few of the projects selected to receive funding. For a complete list of projects, click here.
Indiana: Clear Path 465 — $70 million
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will be awarded $70 million in INFRA funding to complete the Clear Path 465 project. The project includes the reconstruction and expansion of the Interstate 465/Interstate 69 system interchange northeast of Indianapolis, approximately 4.5 miles of mainline I-465 from the White River to Fall Creek, and approximately 0.8 miles of I-69 from I-465 to 82nd Street.
The project seeks to reduce travel times and improve safety by reconstructing and expanding the I-465/I-69 system interchange, and will ease freight congestion along the National Highway Freight Network. INDOT plans to build many of the new bridges, as well as a section of I-465, offline. “Offline” construction means the bridge or roadway will be constructed next to the existing roadway, not impeding any existing traffic flows.
New Mexico: I-25 Interchange & Corridor — $25 million
The Village of Los Lunas, New Mexico, will be awarded $25 million to design and construct a new interchange on Interstate 25 at Morris Road, a river crossing, four signalized intersections and approximately 4 miles of four-lane highway. The goal of the project is to establish a secondary east-west corridor from I-25 across the Rio Grande as an alternative to State Highway 6, which is presently the only east-west corridor for approximately 17 miles connecting communities east of the Rio Grande to I-25.
Texas: I-35 Red River Project — $50 million
The Texas Department of Transportation will be awarded $50 million to improve approximately 7.4 miles of Interstate 35 across Texas, Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation. The project includes widening the interstate, modernizing the corridor design by flattening curves, replacing the northbound and southbound bridges with wider and higher structures over the Red River, updating the frontage roads, installing a fixed concrete barrier in the median, adding retaining walls and culverts, installing intelligent transportation systems improvements (including dynamic message signs), adding pedestrian elements, and converting an interchange.
The project is expected to reduce travel time on the corridor, especially for the approximately 20% of traffic that is freight-related. Accident reduction benefits result from reducing the curvature of the roadway in three major locations, adding a new lane in each direction, and adding lighting to the corridor. The new bridge structures will have a higher clearance over the river below, making the corridor more resilient to climate change.
Minnesota: I-90 Reconstruction in McCook, Minnehaha Counties — $61.5 million
The South Dakota Department of Transportation will be awarded $61,573,383 to reconstruct approximately 28 miles of Interstate 90 in McCook and Minnehaha counties, between mile markers 362 and 390. The project will remove and replace the existing surface on the I-90 eastbound lanes and westbound lanes, rebuild nine functionally obsolete and structurally deficient structures, provide safety and operational enhancements, and add truck parking spaces at the westbound and eastbound rest areas.
The project is designed to improve a significant freight route that is nearing the end of its useful life and will soon have inadequate safety facilities for truck movement. The project includes innovative components such as fiber optic deployment, and a new e-Construction process that will streamline project delivery. The project will also ensure the replacement bridges will be resilient to increasingly frequent flooding.
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