Rural bridges targeted
A vast majority of the Wisconsin bridges awarded construction money in the first wave of federal stimulus funding carry fewer than 1,000 vehicles a day, a Journal Sentinel analysis of federal bridge inspections shows. And many bridges carry significantly fewer than that. The 37 bridges average 568 vehicles a day. A dozen of the selected bridges carry fewer than 100 vehicles a day.
These mostly small, rural bridges will receive $15.8 million, while high priority larger bridges with daily traffic counts approaching 60,000 vehicles were ineligible for funding in the first round.
More than 1,200 other bridges deemed deficient have not met those funding requirements. And the goal of the program is to create construction jobs quickly.
The state hopes to put more than 13,000 people to work on new transportation projects, with a total of $529 million allocated to the construction program. It’s unclear how many specific jobs will be created for the first round of projects.
Given the tight deadlines, infrastructure projects with the greatest public safety needs aren’t necessarily the ones that received funding.