Artist's rendition of the bridge that will span the Ohio River from Milton, KY and Madison, IN.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is using $27.5 billion in Recovery Act funds for road and bridge projects throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the territories. The projects, usually a mix of repairs and new construction, are primarily intended to address local traffic problems.
According to the DOT Federal Highway Administration, more than 40,000 miles of pavement across the United States have been improved since the Recovery Act became law in February 2009. Of the more than 13,000 Recovery Act-funded road projects across the country, more than 4,200 are completed and 7,300 are under way.
Here are just five of those projects:
Completing Interstate Expansion in Wisconsin
After years of being put on hold due to lack of funds, an expansion of I-94 in Madison, Wisconsin is now under way and will be completed as a result of a $43 million in Recovery award from DOT. To relieve congestion four lanes will be expanded to six between I-94’s interchange with Interstate 39/90 and where Highway N crosses I-94. An estimated 58,000 vehicles travel this stretch of highway each day.
The project, the second largest Recovery funded highway project in the state, is now in its second phase and is scheduled to be completed in 2011. The westbound lanes and bridges were completed in September 2010. State officials had planned as far back as 2000 to expand I-94 but lacked funding prior to passage of the Recovery Act.
Dangerous Route in New Mexico
U.S. 491, the primary north-south highway in rural northwest New Mexico, connects the Navajo Nation to emergency, medical, educational, and other nearby vital services. According to state data, the fatality rate on the north portion of the corridor is about 3.6 times higher than the state average and about 2.2 times higher than the south portion. Traffic on this major trucking route has been increasing every year.
DOT awarded a $31 million Recovery grant to pay for constructing two new lanes that will separate north- and south-bound traffic along approximately 70 miles of U.S. 491. Additional safety improvements will include constructing new lanes for acceleration and deceleration in commercial and high-traffic areas.
New Bridge over Ohio River
A $20 million Recovery award from DOT is funding construction of a bridge to replace the 81-year-old bridge that currently spans the Ohio River between Milton, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana – two economically distressed communities. By widening the road deck to 40 feet and including 5-foot sidewalks, officials hope to increase traffic and eventually commerce in the two areas. An estimated 10,700 vehicles cross the bridge daily.
Officials expect the new Milton-Madison bridge will be completed in late 2012.
Relieving Interchange on southern Border
A heavily congested interchange just south of San Diego along the U.S. border with Mexico is the target of $20.2 million in Recovery funds from DOT. The money will pay for improvements to relieve congestion from commercial trucks that are either off-loading or receiving railroad shipment containers.
The Otay Mesa port-of-entry accounts for an estimated 1.4 million trucks passing through the area each year and about $31 billion worth of goods. The improvements involve expanding the loading area so that local traffic is no longer delayed by trucks backed up at the Otay Mesa entrance. DOT also expects a significant reduction in pollutant emissions since truckers tend to leave engines running while waiting.
Building Bypass in Arkansas
Planned Highway 71 bypass in Northwest Arkansas.
DOT awarded the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department $10 million in Recovery funds to complete construction of a four-lane interstate bypass and access road on Highway 71 in the upper-northwest part of the state. The 19-mile bypass will stretch from Bella Vista to Pineville, Missouri, just across the state line.
The project also includes construction of a 2.5 mile two-lane access road between Highway 72 and Highway 279 in the Bella Vista area. State officials expect the new work will not only separate through-traffic from commercial traffic in and around Bella Vista, but also improve the movement of goods in transit to the Great Lakes and Canada.