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Federal funding coming to Arizona for bridge repairs

Posted at 7:43 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 21:43:27-05

PHOENIX — $45 million is on the way to Arizona for bridge repairs.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema's office recently listed 130 bridges across the state that are in line to receive federal funding from the recently passed federal infrastructure bill.

At least five of the bridge projects are in Maricopa County, including the Loop 202 at SR 143, one at Shea Boulevard, and the Indian Bend Wash near Paradise Valley.

ADOT spokesperson Doug Nick says they are eager to receive any federal dollars they can get.

"We're looking forward to any new sources of funding when it comes to highways and bridges of course," Nick said.

In the meantime, he wants to reassure drivers that their current bridges are safe. The condition of bridges are ranked on a three-tier system: poor, fair, and good.

"The great news is that in Arizona the ADOT inventory is in great condition because technically it’s good fair or poor, and we only have less than 1% of bridges in the ADOT inventory that are considered in poor condition," Nick said.

"People should know that when we talk about 'poor condition' it doesn't mean it’s unsafe. Any part of our infrastructure that would be unsafe, we will close and repair immediately."

Nick says some of the ADOT projects on Senator Sinema's list have already been upgraded but says that could be due to lagging updates on their database.

"When it comes to data sometimes a database that is at one government entity is on a different schedule than ours," he said.

He says they're currently in the process of going through which bridge projects are at a higher priority, and applying the federal infrastructure funds. But it's too early to name specific projects just yet.

"This is a process. It’s still in its early stages and we will talk with our federal partners and we will ensure whatever resources we get-go to the infrastructure that needs it," Nick said.

Business owner Tom Digiam Batista drives 30,000 miles a year for his company, Accent by Masters Window Film.

He drives over bridges every day in both rural and urban areas, but frankly see's regular road construction as a bigger bother.

"I see a lot of stuff that slows down and bottlenecks traffic, and some areas worse than others of course," he said.

But Batista says even he wouldn't turn down infrastructure funds if the feds are making it available.

"Especially federal dollars. I would utilize them no matter what it does to my city just because you wanna take advantage of that."

ADOT says they're working as quickly as possible to get through the bureaucracy needed to secure the federal funds.

"A lot of the funding, 15% of it has to go to what are called 'off system bridges' which means they may be involved in an ADOT roadway but they're owned by a city or a county or something like that," Nick said. "That money is divided by a long-standing formula that a percentage of 33% goes to Maricopa County, 17% goes to Pima County and the rest, about 50% goes to greater Arizona, overseen by state board of transportation." he said.

Bottom line, he says, "the driving public should be happy to know that the bridges are in fine shape," Nick said.