December 3, 2014

Governor Cuomo Announces Funding Approval for Additional Bridges Under Bridge Scour Program

Governor Cuomo Announces Funding Approval for Additional Bridges Under Bridge Scour Program

Twenty-Nine Additional Flood Prone Bridges Have Been Approved for Over $72 Million in FEMA Funding

A List of the Additional Bridges Can Be Viewed Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 29 additional scour-critical bridges have been approved for more than $72 million in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The funding was granted through the Governor’s request for FEMA funding to fulfill the State’s complete 105-bridge scour program, the total cost of which will be $518 million. Once finished the bridge scour program will protect and strengthen critical transportation routes across the State, assuring transportation access in emergencies and confirming New York’s commitment to providing corridors for continued economic growth.

“As we continue to adjust to the new reality of severe weather, it is imperative that we reimagine our infrastructure to be more resilient to flooding, deterioration, and other hazards caused by major storms,” Governor Cuomo said. “These bridges serve as a transportation lifeline for New Yorkers and commercial shipping in communities across our State, and rebuilding them now means investing in their future for years to come. I applaud FEMA for approving this funding and helping us build a stronger New York State.”

The purpose of the bridge-scour program is to upgrade and enhance resiliency of 105 scour-critical and flood prone bridges to ensure they are protected from future threats of repeated flooding as well as increase hydraulic openings and elevate bridges to two feet above Base Flood Elevation. The bridges were identified by the State Department of Transportation as the most at-risk from repeated instances of flooding with a focus on structures in the Capital District, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions.

The 29 bridges that have been added to the program are being awarded a total of $72,263,840 in FEMA funds to remediate their high susceptibility to scour, inadequate openings and foundation types. Bridges are approved incrementally based on need.

In June 2013, Governor Cuomo announced a call for projects to be funded by the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to assist local governments and non-profit organizations in rebuilding stronger, more sustainable communities. Authorized by FEMA, the program aims to increase the State’s resiliency, reduce hardship and mitigate the risks of loss and damage associated with future disasters. The bridge scour program is the product of an unprecedented collaboration between the State's Department of Transportation, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. It puts New York State at the cutting edge of innovative flood recovery and mitigation activities.

Bridge scour erodes and carries away foundation materials such as sand and rocks from around and beneath bridge abutments, piers, foundations and embankments. Upgrading these bridges will ensure access to emergency services during and after flood events as well as reduce the risk of flooding where bridge openings cause rivers and streams to back up.

All of the bridges included in the 105-bridge scour program were built to the codes and standards of their time and remain safe and open for everyday traffic. Due to a variety of severe weather events and the increasing frequency of major storms and floods, however, they are now vulnerable to scour caused by the intensity and velocity of water from extreme natural events.

Completion of the program will afford residents of communities across the State continued access to critical lifesaving services in the event of an emergency. Additionally, through the improvement of the structures, adverse impacts to travel throughout the State during severe weather resulting in excess volumes of water will be greatly reduced.

Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “This federal funding will help keep our New York bridges in tip-top shape and ensure they are able to withstand all manner of severe weather events for a long time. These bridges are vital links in the transportation system that sustain our economy, and we must do all we can to make sure they are in a state of good repair.”

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, “Resiliency helps keep our families safe in the face of natural disasters. I’m pleased these federal dollars will help ensure our infrastructure can withstand another Superstorm Sandy, while creating local jobs and easing the burden on Clarkstown taxpayers. I fought hard to secure the $60 billion Sandy Aid package to help communities, businesses, and homeowners recover and rebuild. As Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to make sure that the recovery and resiliency needs in communities throughout Rockland are met.”

Congressman Bill Owens said, "This funding supports critical repairs to key transportation resources in our region including along the Adirondack Northway, a vital source of economic activity for our region. These urgently needed investments in infrastructure will help ensure that trade and tourism can continue to grow in our area. I applaud the Governor and FEMA for moving forward with these projects."

Congressman Tom Reed said, “Rural roads and bridges are often overlooked when it comes to these projects. That isn’t fair so I am pleased that our voice was heard and rural bridges are included among those being upgraded to protect their integrity.”

Congressman Chris Gibson said, “We have an obligation to our neighbors and to the rural economy to safeguard the integrity of our transportation infrastructure, especially in areas devastated by recent flooding events. I appreciate the state’s partnership with local municipalities to identify projects funded by the Hazard Mitigation Grant program. We will continue to advocate for Federal resources to support sound investments in the roads, bridges, and dams that keep New Yorkers safe.”

Congressman Richard Hanna said, “I am pleased that these bridges are being upgraded and secured to protect against future floods. We must continue to repair our infrastructure – the roads, bridges and sewers – to ensure they will continue working safely for all those who rely on them. So much of our infrastructure is in need of repairs and step-by-step we are working to complete these upgrades.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, “Since day one, I’ve worked with Governor Cuomo and across the aisle with local and federal officials to make critical investments in our infrastructure to keep folks safe. My neighbors in Orange and Dutchess have been hit especially hard by storms Sandy, Irene, and Lee, and this federal investment in our bridges will ensure the safety of our families, businesses and communities during future storms.”

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office:  212.681.4640

Albany Press Office:  518.474.8418