The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced the immediate availability of $5.7 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to help repair flood damage to roads and bridges in Custer Gallatin National Forest in southcentral Montana.
“The recent flooding in the Yellowstone region has washed away roads and bridges that residents rely upon for their livelihoods and tourists rely on during their vacations,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The emergency funding we’re providing today will help get this critical infrastructure safely reopened as quickly as possible.”
Between June 5 and June 17, 2022, rain coupled with warm temperatures quickly melted the existing snowpack within the range of the Rocky Mountains, resulting in record flooding that devastated Custer Gallatin National Forest and the surrounding area in southcentral Montana. An estimated 58 roads and 21 bridges and many routes remain impassable.
“Custer Gallatin National Forest is a significant part of the economy in this part of the country, affecting families, workers and the tourism industry,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “It is part of an ecosystem that brings to the fore the urgency of preventing and combatting the ravages of climate change.”
The Forest Service will use the funding to restore emergency access to the Custer Gallatin National Forest, including Mill Creek, West Rosebud Creek, East Rosebud Creek, West Fork Rock Creek and Main Fork Rock Creek Roads. With damage estimated at $28 million, additional funding under the Emergency Relief program will be available for permanent repairs. The FHWA also is providing technical assistance to the Forest Service.
The FHWA’s Emergency Relief program provides funding to states, territories, Tribes, and Federal Land Management Agencies for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. The ER program complements Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs and provisions by encouraging agencies to identify and implement measures to make the restored infrastructure more resilient and better able to withstand damage from climate change and future weather events. The FHWA is also in the process of updating its ER Manual to spotlight the program’s impact on improvements to system resilience and the equity of infrastructure spending.
The funding announced today represents the fourth quick release and adds to the $65 million recently provided to the Montana Department of Transportation, the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service for Yellowstone National Park to repair flood damage.
More information about the FHWA’s Emergency Relief program can be found online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm