U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the immediate availability of $4.15 million in Emergency Relief (ER) funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help repair roads and bridges damaged by heavy rains and subsequent flash flooding in northern Wisconsin.
“The Department has put the reopening of critical transportation links in northern Wisconsin at the top of the priority list,” said Secretary Foxx, in a release. “With many communities cut off from vital necessities and services, we know the situation there is dire.”
Last Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) declared a state of emergency in the northern part of the state after storms caused flooding in eight counties. More than a dozen roads remain washed out in the counties of Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Sawyer and Washburn.
Many roads may remain closed for weeks with detours posted, including Highway 13 in Ashland, sections of Highway 63 in Bayfield, parts of Highways 122 and 169 in Iron and Highway 35 in Burnett.
This initial “quick release” payment is considered a first installment on costs of making short-term repairs now which can make long-term repair work possible in the weeks ahead, which are estimated to top $15 million in Wisconsin. The FHWA's ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.