The city of Madison announced $15.1 million in additional federal funding to replace six bridges around John Nolen Drive Friday.
The city’s project received $15.1 million in funding as part of the $300 million Bridge Investment Program, one of the Biden administration's infrastructure programs, according to the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
In a press conference, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said the older bridges are in need of repair after years of weather-related wear and tear.
“The causeways [and] bridges date back to 1965, and every year they are subjected to the salt and ice of Wisconsin winters, and the busy lake and wave action in the summer months,” Rhodes-Conway said. “These bridges are very much in need of replacement.”
The Bridge Investment Program is part of President Joe Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a $550 billion initiative passed in 2021 to support the maintenance, repair and construction of infrastructure necessary to the economy. The bridge program aims to replace and repair bridges across the country.
Chris Petikowski, a project lead for the John Nolen Reconstruction project, told WORT the additional federal funding is crucial for a project as expensive as this one.
“This is a big project, and it could normally, on its own, encompass our entire budget for a whole year for the whole city,” Petikowski said. “To have help with the grants put toward this project so we can continue our programs on the streets like we normally have — it’s really big.”
In the summer of 2021, the federal government committed $9 million to the John Nolen Drive project, a grant that was later raised to $11 million. Combined with the recent grant, the federal government has now committed around $26 million to the project, which is expected to cost around $30 million.
In September 2022, Rhodes-Conway included $21 million for the John Nolen Drive reconstruction in the city's 2023 budget. With this new grant, the city will now only have to use a portion of that money.
John Nolen Drive is one of the most heavily used roads in Madison, carrying approximately 45,000 vehicles and 4,000 bikes every day. The bridge project will also support a separate bike-pedestrian path, better traffic signals and lighting and new technology to support green infrastructure.
The John Nolen Drive reconstruction is currently in its design phase, and construction is expected to begin in 2025 and be completed by 2027.