U.S. DOT to Release Millions in Emergency Relief Funding for Roads in Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee

Sept. 26, 2023
Funds will address damage sustained from last month's flooding.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently announced the immediate release of $4.65 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief funds for use by the U.S. Forest Service to repair damages to federally-owned roadways caused by heavy rain and severe flooding in Tennessee.

“These emergency funds will help restore vital transportation links in the Cherokee National Forest that were damaged by last month’s floods,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a press release. “Transportation is an essential part of disaster recovery, and these funds will help clear debris and reconstruct pavement so that emergency vehicles can access the area, and residents can access their homes.”  

“The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the U.S. Forest Service to make repairs and re-establish transportation services in Cherokee National Forest,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt in the release. “This funding is an initial down payment toward the cost of repairs to help authorities get the work done as quickly as possible.”

In August 2023, the transportation systems on the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee were affected by heavy rains and flooding. Many of the forest roads that are open to the public have been damaged and are impassable by standard passenger vehicles.

The damage is so extensive that emergency vehicles and utility crews cannot make their way into the forest to make essential repairs. Private homeowners on the Cherokee National Forest cannot access their property and are having difficulty evacuating the area.

Additional funds needed to repair damages in Cherokee National Forest will be supported by the Emergency Relief program through nationwide funding allocations.  

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Source: The U.S Department of Transportation