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Biden Administration Announces $25 Million for Wilcox Bridge, $14.6 Milllion To Dunlap For Highway 127 Intersection Improvement

Thursday, August 11, 2022

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Thursday announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded $63 million to support three projects in Tennessee from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program to help move forward on projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation and make our transportation systems safer, more accessible, more affordable, and more sustainable.

 

Chattanooga is getting $25 million for the Wilcox Bridge and Dunlap is to receive $14.6 million for improving the intersection of Highway 127.

 

Federal officials said, "The city of Chattanooga will receive $25 million to replace the Wilcox Boulevard bridge and will construct a 12.5-foot multi-use path on the southern edge of the project.

The current bridge that spans the railyard is in a deteriorated condition and as a result has a load limit which forces emergency vehicles, trucks, and public transit buses to take long detours. The replacement bridge will accommodate these heavier vehicles and eliminate the need for detour. The proposed project will provide underserved communities with more reliable transportation to jobs, schools, recreation, and businesses.

 

Earlier this year, city officials put a $60 million price tag on replacing the Wilcox Bridge, that is considered so unsafe that it is closed to trucks and emergency vehicles.

 

Joda Thongnopnua, the chief of staff to Mayor Tim Kelly, said in April that the city was lining up the necessary funding. The city seeks $38 million from the state for the bulk of the project., he said.

Mr. Thongnopnua said Norfolk Southern Railroad is providing $10 million.

The bridge goes across 30 rail lines.

He said the city are TDOT are putting in $5 million each with $2 million coming from the TPO transportation planning group.

The city of Dunlap will receive $14.6 million to re-engineer the intersection of U.S. Highway 127, redesign right-of-way to include bicycle lanes and ADA-compliant pathways as well as vehicle lanes, stormwater runoff management, new curb and curb cuts, new network of pedestrian walks, crossing points, pedestrian bridges and amenities, ITS infrastructure, and wireless broadband throughout the corridor.

The project will improve safety for non-motorized travelers by adding bicycle and pedestrian improvements where there were previously none. The project will reduce conflict points and enable traffic calming measures which will create a safer environment for the traveling public. The project plans on redeveloping brownfield sites along the corridor and mitigate stormwater runoff. The project will increase economic productivity by encouraging more concentrated, higher-density development along the corridor.

The project will install ADA-compliant amenities to address the inadequate condition of the transportation network. The project design principles plan for the region’s future with autonomous vehicle technologies, and incorporate ITS infrastructure within the corridor.   

Also, the city of Morristown will receive $23.4 million to narrow the roadway from four to three lanes, add sidewalks, multiuse path, landscaping, lighting, and signage on SR343/ S Cumberland Street, as well as updating approximately 13 traffic signals through ITS Traffic Signal Coordination.

 

This year’s total allocations nationwide include more than $2.2 billion under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an additional $7.5 billion over five years for the program. 

“We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable,” said Transportation Secretary Buttigieg. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we are supporting more projects than ever before.”

Projects were evaluated on several criteria, including safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, partnership and collaboration, innovation, state of good repair, and mobility and community connectivity. Within these areas, the Department considered how projects will improve accessibility for all travelers, bolster supply chain efficiency, and support racial equity and economic growth – especially in historically disadvantaged communities and areas of persistent poverty.

 

 2022 RAISE grants are for planning and capital investments that support roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, or intermodal transportation. 

  • 50% of funding is designated for projects in rural areas, and 50% of the funding is designated for projects in urban areas. 
  • Nearly two-thirds of projects are located in areas of persistent poverty or historically disadvantaged communities. 
  • The largest grant award is $25 million. Per statute, no more than $341.25 million could be awarded to a single state in this round of funding. 
  • Among this year’s selected projects, 11 included a local hire provision. 
  • Several projects include workforce development aspects including four projects that have project labor agreements, eight projects that have registered apprenticeship programs and an additional eight projects with other workforce development provisions. 

 

The RAISE program is one of several ways communities can secure funding for projects under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s competitive grant programs. Later this year, the Biden-Harris Administration will announce recipients of the first-ever National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) program, as well as the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program and the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (RURAL).

 


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