Pennsylvania– The Lehigh Valley Transportation Study approved $534 million of transportation funding as part of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Every two years, the Lehigh Valley updates its TIP, which establishes a maintenance schedule for bridges, roads and public transportation. In effect, the TIP confirms funding for existing projects and sets up money and timetables for new ones.
The plan includes $50 million to widen and improve portions of Route 22; more than $80 million in work along Route 309; and more than $30 million to widen the Lehigh River Bridge to MacArthur Road by 2020 and to design and acquire the rest of the road between 15th Street and Airport Road. The full plan includes 58 road projects, 57 bridge projects and several railroad improvements to be completed between 2019 and 2022. Overall, $244.3 million would be allocated for road projects; $144 million to repair or replace bridges; and $145.8 to fund the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority. Funding for the project is generally 80 percent federal and 20 percent state. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation oversee the projects. Most of the money comes from the federal government, with the state and local municipalities picking up the rest.
Louisiana– The Louisiana Department of Transportation (LADOTD) is considering its very first public-private partnership. The partnership would finance a $122 million Belle Chasse Tunnel and Bridge. The tunnel and bridge are the primary access points for western Plaquemines Parish residents and businesses as well as the Naval air station. Currently, the tunnel carries traffic in one direction across the Intracoastal Waterway, and the bridge carries traffic in the other direction.
Both structures need repair as the tunnel is frequently closed due to leaks and the bridge requires frequent maintenance. The proposed project would replace the tunnel and bridge with a new mid-level, fixed-span bridge, which would carry traffic in both directions and reduce or eliminate the delays associated with operations and maintenance of the older infrastructure. In February LADOTD issued a notice of intent seeking letters of interest from interested private companies and investors. The letters of interest are due by April 4.
Washington State– The Tacoma City Council is considering plans for a foot-ferry service to transport commuters between Tacoma and Seattle. A request for qualifications was issued on Feb. 22 for a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for the project. The deadline for responses is March 27.
Once the deadline passes, the Pierce Transit Board of Directors will then have up to 120 days after the deadline to vote whether to authorize funds to move forward with the study and award a contract to a consultant or consultants. If the feasibility study is approved, the project would begin this summer. The city council hopes to have the results of the study by the end of the year.
Minnesota– The Anoka County Board has approved the city of Anoka’s request for $38.9 million from the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) Corridors of Commerce program. The program would fund the Highway 10/169 project, which would eliminate traffic signals at the intersections of Fairoak and Thurston avenues by constructing an underpass at Fairoak and an interchange at Thurston.
According to figures provided to the county board, the project was estimated at $85.9 million in 2021. Anoka has already received three grants and $20 million in federal money from the 2017 MnDOT highway freight program. In addition, the county has committed $4 million, the city $2 million and MnDOT another $800,000. Last year, the city applied for federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery and Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grants, both for $10 million, with word expected this spring on whether one or both have been approved. The project would also involve existing service road work to improve access from Thurston to Anoka Technical College. The city has hired a design firm for the project which is targeted for construction in 2021.