RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina is set to receive $457 million for bridge replacement and repairs under the federal infrastructure bill that President Biden is set to soon sign, according to the White House.
As of June, North Carolina had 1,325 bridges in poor condition, about 7 percent of the state’s 18,877 bridges, according to the Federal Highway Association.
Noreen McDonald, chair of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning said the infrastructure bill would help increase the pace of repair. She said the money can speed up construction and help finance projects.
“The important thing is the ones that are poor are still safe,” McDonald said. “So, it’s really about prioritizing the bridges that are maybe taking the most money to repair or that are causing the most delays, particularly as people are trying to get back and forth to work.”
Bridges are classified as good, fair, or poor. McDonald said reasons bridges are deemed poor include aging material, the bridge not being designed for today’s number of cars, or a bridge that’s over a stream being impacted by storm runoff.
In Wake County, 43 bridges were listed as poor condition, according to the FHWA. NCDOT spokesperson Marty Homan said some are being replaced as part of the Interstate-440 widening project, including the bridge on Jones Franklin Road and Hillsborough Street.
Homan said the Six Forks Road bridge over I-440 is scheduled for rehab work in 2023.
According to NCDOT’s website, it would cost more than $3.8 billion to replace all the state’s bridges that are in poor condition.
CBS 17 asked NCDOT what the federal infrastructure funding could mean for local bridges:
“As required by law, NCDOT uses a transparent, systematic and data-driven process for prioritizing transportation projects. Any funds from the infrastructure bill will help us delay fewer projects due to the incredible inflation we have seen impacting material, right of way and labor costs,” a spokesperson said in a statement.