Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Project development

Environmental process | Environmental review

Federal Reimbursement for Emergency Repairs

Emergency Repair - Standard Attachment for Permanent Repair Concurrent with Emergency Repair (Word)


FHWA Emergency Relief (ER) program assists state and local governments with repair or reconstruction of Federal–aid highways that suffered serious damage from natural disasters or catastrophic failure from external causes. Federal-aid highways are public roads that are classified as arterial, urban collectors and major rural collectors.

When to use this subject

The purpose of the ER program is to fund repairs to damaged roadways caused by a natural disaster or catastrophic failure from an external cause. ER funding supplements resources from States, localities and other Federal agencies to help in the repair of facilities damaged by eligible events. ER funds are not intended to fund repairs of preexisting damage or non-disaster related damage, such as, gradual and progressive deterioration or lack of proper maintenance.

MnDOT Emergency Management and State Aid coordinates this ER program with FHWA. Generally, all elements within the cross section of a highway that are damaged as a direct result of a disaster are eligible for repair under the ER program. This includes, but is not limited to, pavement, shoulders, slopes and embankments, guardrail, signs and traffic control devices, bridges, culverts, cribbing or other bank control features, bike and pedestrian path, fencing, and retaining walls. The repair of a pedestrian or bicycle trail inside the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway is eligible for ER funding whether the roadway itself is damaged. There are two categories of emergency relief:

  1. Emergency repairs - Emergency repairs are repairs undertaken during or immediately after a disaster to restore essential traffic, to minimize the extent of damage, or to protect the remaining facilities.
  2. Permanent repairs - Permanent repairs are those repairs undertaken after the occurrence of a disaster to restore the highway to its pre-disaster condition.

Examples of ineligible work for ER Federal reimbursement:

  • Measures to prevent damage before the event occurs
  • Heavy maintenance or repairs of pre-existing conditions
  • Work reimbursed by FEMA
  • Sites with less than total cost of $5,000
  • Damage to sites at which bridge projects have already been programmed in the approved STIP

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

Once a potential site has been identified – when you first think there might be damage at a location– communicate it to your environmental contact to start the environmental requirements for the emergency relief reimbursement process. MnDOT personnel should contact their District Environmental Coordinator, and Local Public Agencies (LPAs) should contact State Aid. The district environmental representative will ask for a general scope of work. For example, when part of the road goes under water due to spring snow melt flooding, you should notify your environmental contact.

Organizations involved