18 states, including Arkansas, awarded DOT funds to fix bridges

18 states, including Arkansas, awarded DOT funds to fix bridges
At least 14 bridges near Osceola will be replaced after federal highway officials appropriated $16 million for the project. (Source: KAIT-TV)

WASHINGTON (GRAY DC/KAIT) - The U.S. Department of Transportation announced they are giving $225 million to 18 states to help improve bridges.

The grant program was funded by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, according to the Transportation Department's press release.

When selecting which states would receive the money, Federal Highway Administrator Nicole Nason said, "We looked at factors such as financing, how quickly they could get the projects completed and especially what condition were their bridges in."

Iowa received the most of the 18 states. The state was given over $33 million to help improve 77 bridges around the state.

Only 25 states were eligible for the funds. Nason said all 25 did apply, but the 18 states awarded really stood out.

Locally, the Osceola Area Economic Development project will receive $16.1 million for bridge-related projects.

According to state highway officials, 14 bridges will be replaced are on Highways 77, 140, 158 and 181 in Mississippi County, with each of the bridges within 10 miles of I-55, due to the bridges’ being in poor condition.

Nason said the projects around the nation are important, especially those for bridges that are in dangerous conditions.

“We looked at factors such as financing, how quickly they could get the projects completed and especially, what condition where their bridges in? This is very important to the Federal Highway Administration. So, bridges that were in poor condition were our top priority,” Nason said.

Officials also cited the interstate’s proximity to St. Louis and Memphis for reasons on the construction.

Overall, ArDOT is requesting $22.1 million in federal Competitive Highway Bridge Program funding for the projects with ArDOT setting aside $5,546,800, or 20%, of the cost of the project.

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