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Bridges & Structures

Note: The Section is currently 144(g)
April 26, 2001 memo

MEMORANDUM
Subject: INFORMATION: Interpretation of Title 23, Section 144(o) Reasonable Costs Associated With the Demolition of Historic Bridges Date: August 18, 1999
From: /s/ Original signed by:
David H. Densmore
Director of Bridge Technology
Reply to Attn. of: HIBT-30
To: Resource Center Directors
Division Administrators

Section 144(o) of Title 23 U.S.C. entitled "Historic Bridge Program" provides for the reasonable costs associated with actions to preserve, or reduce the impact of a project on the integrity of historic bridges. In particular, if as a result of a Federal-aid project, a historic bridge is to be no longer used for motorized vehicular traffic, the costs eligible as reimbursable associated with preserving the bridge are limited to the cost of demolition of the bridge. Earlier this year the Office of Bridge Technology circulated an informal survey to the division offices pertaining to Section 144(o). As a result of our survey we found that there is some confusion about the proper interpretation and intent of the Section. Some division offices have interpreted the Section to read that the Federal-aid funding limit pertains only to HBRRP funds. With this interpretation, the use of STP and NHS funds have been used to provide funding over and above the demolition costs. Other divisions have interpreted the law to be the funding limit for all Federal-aid.

Section 144(o) paragraph (3) entitled Eligibility states that:

Reasonable costs associated with actions to preserve, or reduce the impact of a project under this chapter on, the historic integrity of historic bridges shall be eligible as reimbursable project costs under this title (including this section) if the load capacity and safety features of the bridge are adequate to serve the intended use for the life of the bridge; except that in the case of a bridge which is no longer used for motorized vehicular traffic, the costs eligible as reimbursable project costs pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed the estimated cost of demolition of such bridge.

Section 144(o) paragraph (4)(B) also addresses the demolition issue.

Costs incurred by the State to preserve the historic bridge including funds made available to the State, locality, or private entity to enable it to accept the bridge, shall be eligible as reimbursable project costs under this chapter up to an amount not to exceed the cost of demolition. Any bridges preserved pursuant to this paragraph shall thereafter not be eligible for any other funds authorized pursuant to this title.

After reviewing Section 144(o) and in consultation with the Office of Chief Counsel and the Office of Budget and Finance we have confirmed that the intent of the law is to place a limit on the total amount of all Federal-aid funds used for the preservation of historic bridges which will be used for a non-motorized purpose.

The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify the intent of the law and to help assure that Section 144(o) is interpreted in a consistent manner nationwide. We do hope this helps, if you have questions or if you need clarification of our determination, please contact Mr. Raymond J. McCormick at 202-366-4675.

Updated: 07/24/2014
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000