“We hope this federal support will help Oregon communities recover more quickly from the devastating wildfires,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Starting September 7, strong winds and hot, dry weather conditions caused several large fires across Oregon with damage to highways, including the widespread destruction of traffic control devices, guardrails, and other hardware. Extensive statewide traffic management and road closure operations have been needed. Over 200 miles of federal-aid highway system remain closed across the Cascade mountains, limiting transportation between the Willamette Valley and central Oregon.
“Today’s funding represents a down payment on our federal commitment to ensuring highway infrastructure in Oregon is repaired following these devastating wildfires,” Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason said.
These “quick release” funds will go toward emergency repair work to reopen roads and replace damaged structures and traffic control devices.
FHWA’s ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. These funds are an initial installment of funds used to restore essential traffic and to limit further highway damage, which can help long-term repair work begin more quickly.
$100 million is authorized annually for the ER Program under 23 U.S.C. 125. Congress has periodically provided additional funds for the ER program through supplemental appropriations.