WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the immediate availability of $2 million in emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to help repair roads and bridges damaged throughout the region by heavy rain that began falling last week.
“Emergency relief funding will help these two states continue their recovery from the extensive damage caused by this storm,” said Secretary Foxx. “We want residents of the Pacific Northwest to know that we understand how important it is to get these roads open so life there can return to normal as soon as possible.”
A series of severe winter storms began on December 7, bringing heavy rain to Oregon, causing flooding, landslides, erosion, culvert failures and sinkholes resulting in widespread damage to the Beaver State and infrastructure throughout the northwestern part of the state. Within three days, parts of the state had rainfall totals of up to 18 inches.
At the same time, the storm brought high winds and significant rain to western Washington, resulting in major flooding, saturated soils and landslides, as well as stream bank and slope erosion. Some of the areas hardest hit include US 12 near White Pass, US 2 between Clines Corner and Leavenworth, and I-5 near Woodland. Multiple routes are closed due to damage, flooding or debris.
“Both states should know that the funds provided today are only a down payment toward completing the many other repairs to the highways that the region’s thousands of residents and travelers rely heavily upon this time of year,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Additional resources will become available as the state continues to assess the damage.”
Each state will receive $1 million in initial, or “quick release,” funds to begin the important repair work, to further damage assessments and begin to restore traffic to normal as the state continues its work in assessing its repair needs. Preliminary damages are estimated at around $5 million in Washington and $15 million or more for Oregon.
The FHWA's Emergency Relief program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.
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