America has the technology, the resources, and the skills to improve and maintain our nation’s transportation infrastructure. Companies like Under Bridge Platforms provide state-of-the-art bridge access equipment to help facilitate the work of highway bridge inspections, maintenance, repairs, and construction. Bridge projects (both building and repairs) are vital for our country to run properly.

But there has traditionally been a large roadblock that has routinely stalled state’s agendas for their own infrastructure projects. Funding availability has a major impact on transportation infrastructure improvement in the United States.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Limited Funding Slows Progress: The US faces a significant infrastructure funding gap. This means there’s often not enough money to maintain existing infrastructure, let alone invest in major improvements or new projects. As a result, projects get delayed, repairs are deferred, and infrastructure continues to deteriorate.
  • Federal Funding Provides a Boost: Federal programs like the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provide crucial funding for infrastructure projects. These funds can jumpstart stalled projects, support major upgrades, and help states address critical maintenance needs.
  • Competition for Dollars Creates Challenges: Federal funds are often competitive, with states and localities vying for a limited pool of money. This can make it difficult for smaller or less developed areas to secure funding for their infrastructure needs.
  • Alternative Funding Mechanisms Emerge: Recognizing the funding gap, some states and localities are exploring alternative funding mechanisms like public-private partnerships (P3s) or tolling. However, these approaches can raise concerns about equity and affordability.

In short, funding availability is a major hurdle for US transportation infrastructure. While federal programs offer some relief, the gap remains significant. Finding innovative funding solutions will be crucial for ensuring a safe and efficient transportation network across the country.


underside of a bridge


The IIJA Funding Spurring Infrastructure Projects

According to a recent article from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) website,

“On January 25th, 2024, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced $4.9 billion for 37 projects through the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant programs.

The Mega program, created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), focuses on projects that are uniquely large and difficult to fund under traditional grant programs. Some of the selected Mega projects for this round of grants include:

  • Bridge Replacement Program between Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA. $600 million was awarded to update Interstate 5 with a seismically resilient replacement of a bridge over the Columbia River.
  • Sagamore Bridge Project in Cape Cod, MA. $371 million was awarded to restore and modernize a 90-year-old bridge that is currently considered structurally deficient.

The INFRA program funds large scale and transformational infrastructure programs. The funding for this program was increased by 50% in the IIJA, with half of the projects so far being located in rural communities. Some of the projects selected under this program include:

  • Blatnik Bridge Replacement Project in Duluth, MN and Superior, WI. $1 billion was awarded to replace a decaying bridge that serves as a major connection point between the two cities.”

Here’s an overview of some of the major bridge projects underway in the United States this year.


Rising Costs Cast Shadow on I-5 Bridge Replacement

The planned replacement of the century-old I-5 bridge over the Columbia River received a significant boost with a $600 million federal grant in December 2023. However, this funding comes amidst concerns about rising project costs.

Initial estimates placed the project cost between $3.2 billion and $4.8 billion in 2020. This figure jumped to $5 billion to $7.5 billion in 2022, with a target of $6 billion. However, officials anticipate a further increase with a new cost estimate expected later in 2024.

While the federal grant provides a crucial injection of funds, it remains unclear how the remaining costs will be covered. This uncertainty raises concerns about the project’s timeline, as construction is slated to begin in 2025.

In addition, there are concerns regarding the design of the bridge. According to an article from, 

“The bridge’s height has been a significant sticking point for its design. The U.S. Coast Guard has asked planners to ensure the replacement bridge is at least 116 feet tall to accommodate the ships or come to agreements with the companies that need that clearance — mainly, heavy manufacturers that are headquartered near the river.”


Funding Secured for Sagamore Bridge Replacement on Cape Cod

The Biden administration’s recent allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars provides a critical boost to infrastructure projects across the nation.  Included in this investment is $372 million dedicated to replacing the aging Sagamore Bridge, one of the two vital connections linking Cape Cod to the Massachusetts mainland.

The Sagamore Bridge, alongside its companion Bourne Bridge, has served for over 80 years.  However, both bridges are in dire need of replacement to meet modern safety and traffic flow standards.  Replacing both bridges is estimated to cost around $4 billion, and securing funding has been a complex process.

While a previous request for federal assistance to cover half the cost was denied, this recent allocation marks a significant step forward.  Governor Maura Healey has emphasized prioritizing the replacement of the Sagamore Bridge, which carries more traffic and experiences a higher accident rate than the Bourne Bridge.

The secured funding for the Sagamore Bridge represents a positive development for Cape Cod.  However, long-term solutions are still needed to address the future of the Bourne Bridge and ensure a safe and efficient transportation network for the region.

A recent news article from NBC Boston noted that, 

“When the two bridges to Cape Cod are finally built, Massachusetts will own them, not the federal government, under a new agreement announced Thursday that Gov. Maura Healey hailed as “an important step forward in our efforts to replace the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.”

That agreement between Massachusetts and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commits $700 million from the state and $600 million (pending congressional appropriation) from the Corps, for the project, according to an announcement.”


Relief on the Horizon: Blatnik Bridge Replacement Secures Vital Funding

Long-awaited relief is coming for the Blatnik Bridge, a critical artery connecting Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota, on Interstate 535. Over $1 billion in funding, championed by officials like Senator Tammy Baldwin and Governor Tony Evers, has been secured from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

This funding addresses a pressing need. The 60-year-old bridge has suffered from significant structural deterioration, raising concerns about capacity, mobility, and safety. Weight restrictions and lane closures have become a regular occurrence, hindering traffic flow and commerce.

The Blatnik Bridge carries a significant burden. An estimated 33,000 vehicles traverse it daily, with even higher volumes during peak summer months. This traffic includes billions of dollars in freight, supporting the vital Port of Duluth-Superior, the largest port on the Great Lakes.

The secured funding represents a major step forward. While the project’s total cost is estimated at $1.8 billion, this federal contribution will allow construction to begin and ensure the continued smooth flow of people and goods across the region.


Brent Spence Bridge Gets Long-Awaited Upgrade

Relief is on the horizon for the Brent Spence Bridge, a critical artery connecting Covington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. A joint venture was selected in 2023 to tackle a major overhaul of this aging bridge, which carries vital interstate traffic (I-71 & I-75).

The $3.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project will encompass a multi-faceted approach. Crews will not only rehabilitate the existing double-decker bridge, but also construct a brand new companion span to the west. Additionally, the project will improve roughly eight miles of interstate across both Kentucky and Ohio.

A February 19, 2024, update from the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor website,

“Revised plans show the new bridge at almost half the size of the 2012 footprint – covering approximately 14 acres and 84 feet in width. Updated illustrations show widened emergency shoulders on the existing Brent Spence Bridge to safely stow stalled vehicles, and 12-foot shoulders on the new companion bridge. Additionally, interstate and local traffic are separated – the new companion structure will carry I-71/75 traffic; local traffic will use the existing Brent Spence Bridge.”

Construction is expected to break ground later in 2024 and reach substantial completion by 2029. The project receives significant backing from the federal government’s Bridge Investment Program, with $1.4 billion allocated from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).


an under-bridge platform


Under Bridge Platforms: Keeping Our Infrastructure Strong

The recent bridge construction and replacement projects serve as an encouraging reminder of the importance of bridge access equipment. At Under Bridge Platforms, we share a commitment to contributing to the improvement of our nation’s transportation infrastructure.

  • Empowering Inspectors, Strengthening Communities
    • We partner with bridge inspectors by providing state-of-the-art under bridge access equipment. This empowers them to conduct thorough inspections, identify potential issues early, and ensure the safety of our vital infrastructure. Our extensive inventory, featuring snooper trucks, under bridge platforms, and the innovative A-40 Bridge Inspection Unit, guarantees we have the right equipment for any project.
  • Invest in Safety, Invest in the Future
    • Regular bridge inspections are an essential investment in public safety and economic well-being. By prioritizing bridge maintenance, we can safeguard these critical connections and ensure the continued flow of people and commerce across our communities.


Under Bridge Platforms: Your Trusted Partner

Located throughout California, Washington, Oregon, and the Western US, Under Bridge Platforms is a trusted partner for bridge inspectors. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and let us help you find the best equipment to keep our bridges safe and our communities connected.