Monday, October 26, 2009

$4 million earmarked for Fort Madison bridge

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Iowa Another $4 million has been included in a federal appropriations bill to replace the BNSF bridge over the Mississippi River at Fort Madison, The Hawk Eye Website reports. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-2nd District, said the money will come from the 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations bill to repair and rebuild vital infrastructure in the district.

The swing-span bridge has been designated a hazard by the U.S. Coast Guard. It carries rail traffic on its lower level and vehicular traffic above it. An eight-ton weight limit has been placed on vehicular traffic.

A replacement, though, could cost as much as $350 million, according to recent studies.

Fort Madison has received about $20 million in federal money in recent months. A 2009 spending bill in Congress included $1 million for an interchange at county road J38.

More recently, the community of nearly 11,000 received about $15 million in stimulus dollars for the U.S. 61 bypass. Through the stimulus, Fort Madison also received $5.5 million for its water treatment facility.

Loebsack worked with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to secure the rest of the funding necessary to begin work on Burlington's railroad bridge, which also was designated a hazard by the Coast Guard. Work is expected to start on that project this fall.

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill also makes investments in disaster funding, including dollars for the Federal Emergency Management Agency management, disaster relief, and flood-map modernization and disaster relief loans. It also makes improvements in other infrastructure like aviation systems, ports and surface transit, while including aid for first responders.

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