U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

District of Columbia Division

Home / About / Field Offices / District of Columbia Division


The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Emergency Relief, or ER, program can help State and local agencies fund repairs to Federal-aid eligible roads, bridges, and other infrastructure after a natural disaster such as hurricanes.

The repair work within the right-of-way of Federal-aid highways is usually eligible to receive ER funds, if the roadway is included in the Mayor's Declaration or Presidential Declaration.

The decision to seek financial assistance for a disaster event under the FHWA's ER program rests with the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT). The District of Columbia with damage to Federal-aid highways should make their application for ER reimbursement through DDOT. It is DDOT's responsibility to seek ER funding for the repair of Federal-aid highways.

The ER Process

The FHWA Emergency Relief Manual outlines two types of repairs following a disaster: emergency repairs and permanent repairs.

Damage Assessments: DDOT, in cooperation with FHWA District of Columbia Division engineers, undertakes damage surveys and/or detailed site inspections. This may include local DC authorities where appropriate. Typically, this involves on-the-ground visits of the damage sites to verify the extent of damage and to determine the cost of repairs eligible for ER funding. Specific sites not visited by FHWA are subject to review and approval of all required documentation.

Implementation of Projects: ER construction contracts are advanced generally in similar fashion as regular Federal-aid highway projects. DDOT generally takes the lead in seeing that projects are advanced in accordance with appropriate Federal and local requirements. The total amount of ER funding provided is based on the Federal share of actual costs incurred by DDOT to complete eligible repair activities.

The final ER eligibility and reimbursement will be based on the documentation submitted showing cost, justification, and compliance with Federal requirements.

Key Items for Local Authorities

  1. Identify your Federal-aid highway routes: Create a list of the Federal-aid routes in your community. Damage to these routes is potentially eligible for funding under FHWA’s ER program. Federal-aid highways generally include interstates, freeways, arterials, and major collector roads. Usually rural minor collectors and local roads are not eligible.

    DDOT Planning Website for Functional Classification/GIS

  2. Federal Requirements: Be familiar with the federal requirements for construction contracts and the roles and responsibilities of State and Local Agencies administering the ER Projects.

    FHWA Contract Administration Core Curriculum Manual

  3. Document emergency repair costs: If you are undertaking emergency repairs to restore essential traffic, minimize damage, or protect remaining facilities, keep good records of the costs incurred. Be sure to take pictures of the damaged area before undertaking any repair work. These will be critical when DDOT seeks reimbursement under the ER program.
  4. Permanent repair work: Remember, permanent repair work requires prior approval by the FHWA division office.

Contact Information

Web Resources

The Emergency Relief process is explained in a series of four videos:

  1. Program Overview and Eligibility 
  2. Initial Steps for Requesting ER Funds 
  3. Steps for Receiving Reimbursement of ER Expenses 
  4. Emergency versus Permanent Repairs 

Note: Each video has a printable “Companion Resource” on its website.

Links to related Code of Federal Regulations and other information

Page last modified on October 21, 2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000