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Hydraulic Engineering

Subject: ACTION: Funding of Scour Countermeasures on Highway Bridges Date: March 9, 1999
From: /s/ Original signed by:
David H. Densmore, Director of Bridge Technology
Reply to Attn. of: HIBT
To: Mr. Stephen A. Moreno, Division Administrator, Juneau, AK

This is in response to your January 20 memorandum pertaining to funding of scour countermeasures for highway bridges. You have indicated that the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (AKDOT&PF) is concerned about FHWA limiting the use of Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (HBRRP) funds for scour countermeasures. While the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) authorized State Departments of Transportation to use HBRRP funds for countermeasures, it does not change the requirement that a bridge on which countermeasures are used be deficient and included in the eligibility selection list provided under 23 CFR 650.409(b). Although legislation proposed under NEXTEA and the Senate's ISTEA II proposal would have allowed funding of scour countermeasures for non-deficient bridges, the final legislation, passed under TEA-21, did not change the deficient bridge requirement.

With deference to the AKDOT&PF concern, we agreed to allow HBRRP funds obligated between October 15, 1997, and October 22, 1998, for scour countermeasures at bridges not included in the eligibility selection list. We acknowledge that AKDOT&PF may not be able to benefit from that action. While the FHWA is a strong proponent of funding scour countermeasures, we must comply with current legislation.

The AKDOT&PF has also indicated that FHWA is inconsistent in allowing HBRRP funds to be used for seismic retrofit of non-deficient bridges. However, the legislation introduced in the "Boxer bill," was signed into law in 1994, and revised Title 23, Section 144 to allow State DOTs to use HBRRP funds to seismically retrofit non-deficient as well as deficient bridges. The TEA-21 did not change this criteria. Therefore, we have been consistent with current legislation.

We commend the AKDOT&PF for its proactive effort towards the countermeasure phase of the scour evaluation program. We also encourage them to consider using other allocated Federal-aid funds provided under the Federal-aid program to implement its plan for the installation of scour countermeasures at bridges that have been identified as scour critical.

Should you have any questions please call Mr. Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz at (202)366-4604.

Updated: 02/11/2015
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