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Georgia Division

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Emergency Relief Information

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 disaster such as the bridge collapse on I-85 in Atlanta, GA.

The repair work within the right of way of Federal-aid highways is usually eligible to receive ER funds, if the roadway is in an affected county that is included in the Governor’s Declaration or Presidential Declaration.

FEMA Website for Presidential Disaster Declaration

Georgia website for Governor’s Disaster Declaration

The decision to seek financial assistance for a disaster event under the FHWA's ER program rests with GDOT. Local agencies with damage to Federal-aid highways should make their application for ER reimbursement through GDOT. It is GDOT’s responsibility to seek ER funding for the repair of Federal-aid highways, regardless of which jurisdiction.

The following outlines the ER process:

Restore Essential Service: State and local highway authorities are empowered to immediately begin emergency repairs to restore essential traffic service and to prevent further damage to Federal-aid highway facilities. Properly documented costs with before and after photos are usually eligible for reimbursement. On the other hand, permanent repairs require prior FHWA approval.

Damage Assessments: GDOT in cooperation with FHWA Georgia Division engineers, undertakes damage surveys and/or detailed site inspections. This may include local 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

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

GDOT contacts:

Larry C. Barnes
Assistant State Maintenance Engineer – Emergency Operations
State Maintenance Office
One Georgia Center
600 W. Peachtree St., NW 10th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30308
912-530-4493 office
404-772-9922 cell

Identify your Federal-aid highway routes: Create a list of the Federal-aid routes in your county or 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.

GDOT’s Planning Website for roadway Functional classification

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

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 GDOT or the local agency seek reimbursement under the ER program.

Permanent repair work: Remember, permanent repair work requires prior approval by the FHWA division office.

Contact Information:

FHWA Emergency Relief Program Coordinator – Julio Nunez (404) 562-3638

FHWA Assistant Division Administrator – Dan Hinton (404) 562-3635

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

Web links to related Code of Federal Regulations and other links:

FHWA's Emergency Relief Program Web site

FHWA Order 5182.1 - Emergency Relief Program Responsibilities

FHWA's Emergency Relief Manual

Emergency Relief questions and answers related to MAP-21

FHWA's Web site covering Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO)

FHWA's Contract Administration Core Curriculum providing an overview of Federal contracting requirements

FEMA's policy and guidance covering public assistance

FEMA fact sheet on debris removal on Federal-aid Highways


Page last modified on August 28, 2019
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000