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U.S. shells out $62 million for highway, bridge disaster relief

By Todd Sperry, CNN
updated 6:48 PM EDT, Mon April 2, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Wyoming gets nearly $21 million for road repairs from flood damage last year
  • Alaska will receive about $12 million, also for flood damage repairs
  • Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, South Carolina and Washington also get DOT money
  • The funds are to cover repair costs from natural disasters and accidents

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Alaska and Wyoming are the biggest benefactors of Monday's announcement by the Department of Transportation that it intends to set aside nearly $62 million for states to cover repair costs for roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters and accidents.

In all, seven states will receive federal aid from the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief program.

Other states include Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, South Carolina and Washington state. The DOT said in a statement the money will go to fixing or replacing highways and paying costs associated with detours, debris removal and other means of restoring normal traffic flow.

How the money is distributed is determined by several factors including the cost associated with repairs and how much each state requests for reimbursement on repairs already completed.

Nearly $21 million will go to Wyoming for repair of flood damage caused in 2011. While Wyoming is usually arid, it suffered greater damage because roadways that don't usually experience flooding were inundated, according to the DOT. Alaska will receive around $12 million for repairing flood damage to a highway system in 2010.

Add up all the lanes of the U.S. federal highway system, and it's about 8.5 million miles of roadway. Alaska and Wyoming make up about 1% of the U.S. highway infrastructure, but according to the DOT, the costs associated with highway repairs in the two states were extraordinary.

The DOT says individual states make repairs and then request reimbursement for expenses. Additional reimbursement requests may be made by the seven states to cover future repairs for the events covered in Monday's announcement.

The full dollar amount, with the repair issue and its date, distributed to each state includes:

-- Alabama: July 1, 2010 I-65 Sinkhole $1,825,115

-- Alaska: Summer 2010 Taylor Highway Flooding $11,987,752

-- Kentucky: January 26, 2012 Eggners Ferry Bridge Damage, $9,000,000

-- Maine: May 2006 Rainfall and Flooding $46,000

-- South Carolina: May 22, 2011 SC Route 150 Bridge Damage $3,437,883

-- Washington state: October 11, 2009 SR 410 Landslide $5,864,896, December 2010 Storms $8,987,457

-- Wyoming: May-July 2011 Flooding $20,800,000

Those allotments total $61,949,103.

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