Oregon receives $362 million from federal infrastructure bill for bridge and resilience projects


SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon’s topography is spectacular, making it one reason many call this state home. But with our coastal access, mountain ranges and high desert canyons and canyons, many large bridges tailored to the area they serve are needed.

With the recently passed Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Oregon Department of Transportation is evaluating potential projects that qualify for the Bridge and Resilience Portion of funding.

ODOT considers many factors during the project development and appraisal process. The agency reviews inspection information, inventory data, local perspectives, and cost-benefit analyzes to prioritize projects and determine recommendations for the Oregon Transportation Commission.

“We are grateful for these funds,” says State Bridge Program & Standards Engineer Bert Hartman. “This allows us to address several additional projects that our statewide program staff and regional crews have already identified as future work items.”

Repainting part of the Fremont Bridge is a project on the table. Completed in 1973, the Fremont Bridge spans the Willamette River in Portland and connects I-405 and I-5. It’s a critical route for residents, freight and mass transit and it needs to be eliminated.

“Buying a steel bridge is like buying a house—you have to paint it to save it,” notes Hartman.

Painting a nearly 800 m long bridge is not only a time-consuming task, but also expensive. If approved, ODOT could begin this multi-phase project with a portion of the bridge funding.

The resilience portion of the allocation funds projects that increase our infrastructure’s ability to withstand and recover from events such as earthquakes and floods. While bridges are often the focus, improving resilience extends to other areas of our transportation system.

The replacement of a culvert on US 30 near St. Johns Bridge is a project vying for resilience funding. This project would replace an outdated culvert with a larger one better suited to the area and the highway’s importance as a rescue corridor. Culverts are critical to managing drainage and preventing flooding. They allow water to flow under a roadway, often at natural collection points.

Other projects being considered for bridge and resilience funding include a slope stabilization project to reduce rockfall risk, replacement of a culvert supporting the fishway and a bridge replacement required to accommodate a transfer of jurisdiction to a local authority to complete.

While the $362 million — $268 million for bridges and $94 million for system resilience — is a much-needed addition, it does not address the state’s lack of funding for system preservation and will not meet every need. A portion of this funding also goes to local agencies that help cities and counties fund bridge projects in their areas. With nearly 2,800 bridges in the state’s transit system, the key to sustaining these structures throughout their decades-long lifespan is consistent, targeted funding to support proactive maintenance and rehabilitation efforts.

Ensuring reliability and resilience while considering the needs of the community is a crucial part of ODOT’s project selection process. Visit our website to learn more about how ODOT is working alongside other priorities in our Strategic Action Plan to build and sustain a modern transportation system.

Learn about the federal Infrastructure Act and share your thoughts with the OTC on which projects ODOT should consider.

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