Funding available for bridges in need of repairs

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is now receiving applications for the Municipal Bridge Program, which provides Federal funds to municipal corporations, metro parks, and Regional Transit Authorities (RTA) for roadway bridge replacement, bridge rehabilitation, or bridge demolition projects.

In April, Governor Mike DeWine announced a $47.5 million increase in Ohio’s yearly funding allocation for local bridge projects for the next five years, bringing Ohio’s annual investment in county and municipal bridges to $112.5 million per year.

Completed on-line applications are due by August 15, and selected projects are announced in November.

“Since 2017, this program has provided funding for more than 70 municipal bridges,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “We must take care of and maintain our existing bridges in Ohio and this program makes it possible for entities that could use financial assistance.”

A criteria-based project selection process has been developed to focus on eliminating deficiencies, while keeping within a financial plan that utilizes existing available resources. Funding of all projects will be linked to defined deficiencies, so each dollar invested results in system improvement.

To be eligible for the Municipal Bridge program, the bridge must:

• be owned by a city, village, metro park or public transit agency,

• be open to vehicular traffic (this requirement may be waived if the bridge was closed recently due to concern for public safety of the traveling public or if the applicant wants to demolish the bridge),

• meet the federal definition of a bridge (greater than 20’ in length),

• have a sufficiency rating of 80 or less,

• have a general appraisal of 5 or less, and

• be structurally deficient.

A funding limit of $2 million per project is set. ODOT will provide up to 95% of the eligible costs for construction and construction inspection only. A local match for construction is required. The annual budget for this program is $18.5 million.