BATON ROUGE, La. - State and federal officials said Friday Louisiana is getting its first installment of about $1 billion for bridge repairs, part of the $1 trillion infrastructure measure approved by Congress last year.
This year’s allocation is $202.6 million.
Louisiana has the third largest bridge infrastructure in the nation.
The state owns 7,846 bridges, with 795 needing major repairs or replacement.
Another 4,736 are locally owned, with 793 in need of upgrades or replacement.
"Bridge closures or weight restrictions severely hinder our agriculture, manufacturing and service industries as well as public transit, commuter travel and school bus routes," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.
"Limiting closures will provide a better overall quality of life to our residents, motorists and businesses."
The $1 billion for bridges will be allocated over five years.
Up to 400 bridges are targeted for repairs.
"This new federal investment comes at the right time as many of our bridges, including those on the interstate system, are 45 to 65 years old," said Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development.
"The number of bridges falling into poor condition is expected to increase greatly in the coming years and this funding will allow us to make necessary improvements before these bridges deteriorate to the point of closure," Wilson said.