U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the immediate availability of $2 million in Emergency Relief (ER) funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to stabilize and repair roads damaged by heavy rains on federal lands throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
“Thousands of drivers use these roads each year – especially during the heavy tourism months of summer,” said Secretary Foxx. “We are committed to doing everything we can to help repair and reopen these routes quickly and safely, to support the well-being of the people and the economy in the Northwest U.S.”
Over three days, heavy rains last December saturated federal roads in six National Forests, three National Parks, a National Scenic Area and two Bureau of Land Management Districts in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Some of the areas hardest hit include the Gifford Pinchot and Idaho Panhandle National Forests, and Olympic National Park in Washington.
The rain – up to 18 inches in certain areas, creating several 100-year runoff events – caused significant damage to roads, such as large mud- and rockslides, roadway erosion, culvert and bridge failures, and closed multiple routes. Discovery of damage and preparing costs estimates were delayed due to high snow levels that fell shortly after the damage occurred.
These ER funds will be released quickly for use in making repairs to the impacted roadways and reopening them to traffic.
“These important emergency funds will make it possible for workers to make immediate repairs throughout the area,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “We want to ensure that everyone in this large region has access to safe roads and bridges, and especially so on these federal lands roads to accommodate a busy tourism season this year.”
These funds will help road crews begin repairs and restore traffic. This initial “quick release” payment includes funds to repair future, latent damages. The FHWA’s ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.