ROADS/BRIDGES: U.S. DOT frees $2 million in emergency relief for California roads

Roads and bridges damaged by Northern California’s pervasive wildfires will receive funds

September 23, 2015

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the immediate availability of $2 million in federal emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to help repair roads and bridges damaged by wildfires that spread through several counties in northern California.

“Emergency relief funding will make immediate repairs possible throughout the area and reopen critical roads again,” said Secretary Foxx. “We want to ensure that everyone in this region of California has access to safe roads and safe bridges, and this funding will help ensure that travel can get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Damaged highways in northern California include S.R. 29, closed from Calistoga to the Napa/Lake County Line and from north of Hidden Valley Lake to S.R. 53, and S.R. 175, closed from Middletown to S.R. 29 near Clear Lake. The fire started on Sept. 12 near Middleton in Lake County and spread to neighboring Napa and Sonoma Counties. It has now affected almost 74,000 acres with significant damage to area highways.

“We want to make sure we restore vital travel links in the region as soon as possible,” said FHWA Administrator Greg Nadeau. “Peoples’ lives are greatly affected when the highways they rely upon for daily travel are destroyed.”

California will use the $2 million provided today to help repair highway damaged pavements, signs and guardrails and to re-stabilize slopes and embankments on certain highway sections.

Though cost estimates for the damage are not yet complete and access is restricted because of active fires, these emergency funds will help Caltrans begin repair work and restore essential traffic while working with the FHWA to evaluate repair options.  The damage so far is expected to reach $19 million.

The FHWA’s Emergency Relief program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.