September 23, 2021
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The Federal Highway Administration recently issued “quick release” Emergency Relief or ER funds to the Colorado Department of Transportation and the District Department of Transportation of Washington, D.C., to pay for infrastructure repairs following, respectively, mudslides and a pedestrian bridge collapse.

[Above photo by the Colorado DOT]

The FHWA said in a statement that the $11.6 million in ER funds would reimburse Colorado DOT for the costs of fixing damage to Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon caused by mudslides. The Colorado DOT said in a statement that it requested a total of $116 million in federal aid to help it repair the damage from those mudslides.

Between June 26 and July 28, the Colorado DOT closed I-70 – which handles an average of 17,000 vehicles per day, of which more than 2,200 are trucks – approximately 12 times for flash flood warnings.

Colorado DOT Director Shoshana Lew (far left) and Gov. Jared Polis (center) inspecting I-70 damage. Photo by Colorado DOT.

Additional rainfall on July 29 caused extensive debris flows and forced the agency to keep sections of I-70 – from Exits 116 through 133 – closed between Glenwood Springs and Dotsero due to heavy mud inundation along with damage to the interstate deck and superstructure as well as the highway’s retaining walls along the Colorado River.

FHWA said the ER funds reimburses Colorado DOT for work related to re-opening I-70 to traffic – including the removal of material from I-70, stabilizing slopes, and conducting surveys and assessments of damage to structures. The funds will also go toward maintaining traffic safety along lengthy detour routes.

Meanwhile, the FHWA issued the District DOT $1 million in ER funds to cover some of the costs associated with the collapse of the Lane Place Bridge over Route 295.

A truck struck that pedestrian bridge in Northeast Washington on June 23, causing the structure to collapse from the impact. FHWA noted in a statement that the Lane Place Bridge serves as a vital connection for residents of the Kenilworth neighborhood to access transit, including the Deanwood and Minnesota Ave Metro Stations. It also connects residents to businesses, schools, and churches located on both sides of the six-lane highway.

FHWA added that those ER funds would reimburse the District of Columbia DOT for the costs of demolition, cleanup and other repair work in the area of the bridge.

Those funds also will help expedite efforts to replace what is left of the 65-year-old Lane Place Bridge with one that will meet current design standards and be safer and more accessible. The current cost estimate for such a replacement bridge is $26 million, FHWA said.

editor@aashto.org

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