First Large Bridge Grant From the IIJA is Announced

Jan. 4, 2023
Four bridges over the Calumet river in Chicago will be improved with $144 million in funding

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced today Illinois' project to rehabilitate four bridges over the Calumet River on the Southside of Chicago. The project will receive $144 million in the first round of Large Bridge Grants from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's (IIJA) Bridge Investment Program.

The grant to the City of Chicago will fund improvements to four bridges, which lift an average of 5,000 times per year, providing continuous and safe access for marine traffic to and from the Illinois International Port and surrounding industry. Rehabilitating these bridges ensures that communities on either side of the river remain connected and the bridges continue to function to allow barge and ship traffic to traverse to the Port and beyond.

Improvements to these bridges will address delays in the movement of freight that currently raise costs for American families. This grant is part of investments by the IIJA, which will help repair or rebuild ten of the most economically significant bridges in the country along with thousands of bridges across the country.

“Safe, modern bridges ensure that first responders can get to calls more quickly, shipments reach businesses on time, and drivers can get to where they need to go,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to award this historic funding to modernize large bridges that are not only pillars of our economy, but also iconic symbols of their states’ past and future.” 

“These first Large Bridge grants will improve bridges that serve as vital connections for millions of Americans to jobs, education, health care and medical care and help move goods from our farms and factories,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg. “And over the next four years we will be able to fund construction for the pipeline of shovel ready projects we are creating through Bridge Planning Grants.”

“This grant to improve four bridges over the Calumet River in Illinois demonstrates the transformational investments we are making to support President Biden’s commitment to rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure,” said FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “We are pleased to partner with the City of Chicago and see work get underway to modernize these bridges, which will have a real impact on the quality of life for thousands of residents and motorists traveling on either side of the Calumet River who will benefit from these improvements for decades to come.”

Large Bridge Project Grants under the Bridge Investment Program are available for bridges with total eligible project costs over $100 million, with minimum grant awards of $50 million, and maximum grant awards of 50 percent of the total eligible project costs. As part of the selection process for this first round of grants, priority consideration was given to projects ready to proceed to construction, as well as those that require pre-construction funding and would benefit from a multi-year grant agreement.

The IIJA is making the single largest dedicated investment in highway bridges since the construction of the Interstate highway system with nearly $2.4 billion available in Fiscal Year 2022 from the Bridge Investment Program which complements $5.3 billion announced earlier this year for states under the Bridge Formula program.


Source: USDOT