WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has awarded Waco an $800,000 grant that will fund the planning process to repair seven bridges around Primrose Creek in Southeast Waco.
Funding from the Bridge Investment Program, part of President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, to help build, replace and repair bridges across the country.
“This is a planning grant to help us develop some preliminary plans and plans to deal with the seven bridges over Primrose Creek that are substandard bridges that need to be replaced,” said Waco Public Works Director Amy Burlarly-Hyland.
Berlarly-Hyland said those streets and bridges in the area flood into Waco during heavy rains. He said the flooding will hurt the public and first responders who have to travel through the area.
“One of the things that happens is Primrose Creek goes over those bridges when they have significant rainfall,” he said. “They’re bigger, so they’re built to withstand a five-year rain event. Obviously, it cannot withstand a 100-year storm. It won’t handle any long-term event without the channel overflowing and flooding the area, so it’s just an issue of old infrastructure that needs to be updated. “
The $800,000 grant is part of the first round of federal funding designed to help cities implement projects with intensive planning.
“We’re looking a little deeper into hydraulics and hydrology, and when there’s heavy rainfall and flooding in that area, what areas are going to flood, and what can we do to keep them from flooding in the future?” Berlarly-Hyland said.
Now that the city has received the grant, Burlarly-Hyland said the department is hiring a consulting engineer to help them plan. Once they finalize the renovation plan and collect the costs, the city will apply for a construction grant in hopes of completing the project in the next few years.
Waco is one of 23 cities nationwide to receive a federal grant from the first round of Bridge Investment Program Grants. It is the only city in Texas that has been funded.
“I’m very excited that we won this grant, and to be the only city in the state of Texas to receive a grant and one of only 23 cities across the United States, I think it’s amazing,” Berlarli said. – Highland.
Because the funding is from the federal level, the city is able to move forward with the much-needed project.
“If it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have the money to fund this project,” Burlarli-Hyland said. “It’s a project that was on our list that was important to us, but we don’t have any funding or anything at all to start this, so now we can do things that are important to the city.”
Waco’s Department of Public Works applied for four grants on various funds in the city; but they received funds for the Primrose Creek bridges. While Burlarly-Hyland is grateful for the funds for this project, she hopes they will receive more planning grants from the federal grant program for other projects in the city.
According to Pete Buttigieg, secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, the purpose of the Bilateral Infrastructure Act is to help modernize cities’ infrastructure and connect communities.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act Investment Program provides a total of $12.5 billion over five years. Nearly $2.4 billion will be awarded for city projects in 2022, with $18.4 million awarded in the first round of grants, including Waco and 22 other cities across the country.
Bridges the city plans to repair around Primrose Creek include:
- Gurley Lane Bridge
- S. 3rd street bridge
- Park Drive Bridge
- 12th street bridge
- S. 4th street bridge
- S. 18th Street Bridge
- Proposed canal improvement between Gourley Lane and Garden Dr.
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