Skip to main content

Yadkin River Bridge Project only receives $10 million in TIGER Grants; NCDOT to consider other financing methods

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, NCDOT only received $10 million in TIGER Grant Funding for the I-85 Yadkin River Bridge project.  The state had applied for the maximum of $300 million for this project.  Though NCDOT was pleased to receive money for the needed project, they were disappointed, "Obviously the $300 million would have enabled us to build it faster, and be able to use those resources for other transportation needs in North Carolina. We’re extremely disappointed," said Ted Vaden, an NCDOT Deputy Secretary.

The overall project - building a new eight-lane Yadkin River Bridge, widening a total of eight miles of I-85 on both sides of the new bridge, and rebuilding interchanges - is estimated to cost closer to $400 million.

The Salisbury Post reports that the $10 million will basically cover administration costs that will be used to achieve additional funding to construct the bridge.  As part of the awarding of the grant, NCDOT is eligible for "optional innovative financing enhancements to support a direct loan for up to one-third of the project costs" or Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans.  TIFIA loans, similar to what the NCTA received last year for the Triangle Expressway, allow state and other DOT's to receive "federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit to finance surface transportation projects of national and regional significance."

Of course, this money would need to be paid back.  And according to an interview with the Charlotte Observer's Mary Newsom, North Carolina Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said without a revenue stream to repay the TIFIA loan it is best to take the cash.

So my initial thought was that the proposals to toll the Yadkin River Bridge may resurface.  But, I am incorrect.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer's Bruce Siceloff, NC DOT will use "...$150 million in federal GARVEE bonds -- basically a loan against future federal highway dollars -- plus $20 million in other state funding and the $10 million federal stimulus grant..."

So that's only $180 million...what about the remaining $200+ million for the whole project, you may be asking?.  Well, it's going to be put on hold.  NCDOT will now only construct the new eight lane Yadkin River Bridge.  The highway widening and reconstruction of Interstate 85 north of the bridge will be put on hold.  So the bottleneck will still exist from the Yadkin River to Business I-85 (Future I-285) near Lexington.  (Roughly from bridge to mile marker 86).

NCDOT plans to place the contracts for the new replacement Yadkin River Bridge out to bid this coming April.  Construction may start as soon as this coming October.  Construction is expected to last three years.

The good news - the 55 year old Yadkin River Bridge is going to be replaced.  But the Yadkin River Bridge area on I-85 is going to continue to be a choke point for years to come.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge - Maine

  Spanning over the Ossipee River on the border between Porter in Oxford County, Maine and Parsonsfield in York County, Maine is the 152 foot long Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge. The Porter-Parsonsfield Bridge is built in a Paddleford truss design, which is commonly found among covered bridges in the New England states. The covered bridge is the third bridge located at this site, with the first two bridges built in 1800 and 1808. However, there seems to be some dispute for when the covered bridge was built. There is a plaque on the bridge that states that the bridge may have been built in 1876, but in my research, I have found that this bridge may have been built in 1859 instead. That may check out since a number of covered bridges in northern New England were built or replaced around 1859 after a really icy winter. The year that the Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge was built was not the only controversy surrounding its construction. There was a dispute over building and maintain

Route 75 Tunnel - Ironton, Ohio

In the Ohio River community of Ironton, Ohio, there is a former road tunnel that has a haunted legend to it. This tunnel was formerly numbered OH 75 (hence the name Route 75 Tunnel), which was renumbered as OH 93 due to I-75 being built in the state. Built in 1866, it is 165 feet long and once served as the northern entrance into Ironton, originally for horses and buggies and later for cars. As the tunnel predated the motor vehicle era, it was too narrow for cars to be traveling in both directions. But once US 52 was built in the area, OH 93 was realigned to go around the tunnel instead of through the tunnel, so the tunnel was closed to traffic in 1960. The legend of the haunted tunnel states that since there were so many accidents that took place inside the tunnel's narrow walls, the tunnel was cursed. The haunted legend states that there was an accident between a tanker truck and a school bus coming home after a high school football game on a cold, foggy Halloween night in 1

US Route 299 and modern California State Route 299

US Route 299 connected US Route 101 near Arcata of Humboldt County east across the northern mountain ranges of California to US Route 395 in Alturas of Modoc County.  US Route 299 was the longest child route of US Route 99 and is the only major east/west highway across the northern counties of California.  US Route 299 was conceptualized as the earliest iteration of what is known as the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway.  The legacy of US Route 299 lives on today in the form of the 307 mile long California State Route 299.   Featured as the cover of this blog is the interchange of US Route 101 and US Route 299 north of Arcata which was completed as a segment of the Burns Freeway during 1956.   Part 1; the history of US Route 299 and California State Route 299 The development of the State Highways which comprised US Route 299 ("US 299") and later California State Route 299 ("CA 299") began with 1903 Legislative Chapter 366 which defined the general corridor of the Trinit