U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has released $2 million in Emergency Relief (ER) funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help repair roads and bridges damaged by heavy rain and flooding in Louisiana.
“The situation in Louisiana is critical, with tens of thousands evacuated from their homes and cut off from vital transportation links,” says Secretary Foxx. “This natural disaster has been reported to be the worst to hit our nation since Superstorm Sandy – and many residents still face life threatening conditions. We are doing everything we can at the U.S. DOT to help.”
Southeastern Louisiana experienced heavy rains beginning August 11 and on the days following. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in Louisiana as the result of the heavy rain and flooding that extended to 20 parishes throughout the state. Rivers and bayous continue to experience flooding as the water is still rising in some areas.
“These emergency funds will help the state begin repairs immediately so people can access essential services and get the assistance they need,” says Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “They represent the first installment of federal resources available to Louisiana to reopen all roads.”
Louisiana will receive $2 million to repair roads and bridges, stabilize structures to prevent further damage, and set up detours until permanent repairs are completed.
This initial “quick release” payment is considered a down payment on costs of making short-term repairs now which can make long-term repair work possible in the weeks ahead. Long-term repair costs are estimated to exceed $10 million in Louisiana as flood waters recede. The FHWA’s ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.