TRENTON – The state Transportation Department said Friday that nearly $29 million has been awarded to repair or replace 31 county bridges this year.
The money comes from the state-supported Local Aid fund.
“This program has already enabled counties to remove 53 bridges from a list of nearly 290 bridges that were rated deficient, obsolete or otherwise in need of repair,” Transportation Department Commissioner Jim Simpson said in a statement. “These new grants will fund … improvements for another 31 bridges, promoting safety and optimizing traffic flow.”
Including the fiscal year 2011 round of grants, 84 county bridges have been or will be improved through this program since it began in 2009, the Department stated.
Under the grant program, each of the state’s 21 counties receives $1 million to advance one or more bridge projects. An additional $4 million is distributed on a competitive cost-benefit basis. All grant-eligible bridges are rated structurally deficient, functionally obsolete or scour-critical. Scour refers to soil erosion around bridge abutments, wing walls or piers.
The fiscal year 2011 local bridge grants also include $4 million in unexpended fiscal year 2010 funds, bringing the total awarded to $29 million.
Counties receive 75 percent of the grant after awarding a contract for the bridge work, and receive the remaining 25 percent upon the bridgework completion.