Minnesota Department of Transportation

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State Aid for Local Transportation

E-Scene January 2022

Local Bridge Replacement Program funding refresher

By: Marc Briese, State Aid Programs Manager and Dave Conkel, State Aid Bridge Engineer

In the past few months, several questions have come up regarding the Local Bridge Replacement Program (LBRP) and which projects are eligible to receive funding. Many details are provided in the State Aid Manual and on the LBRP webpage. This article provides a refresher on four important things that must occur before State Aid can issue a funding letter for state bridge funds (bridge bonds or general funds) and township bridge funds.

1. Meet Eligibility Criteria

Per the State Aid Manual, a bridge must have a clear span of 10 feet or more and the Local Bridge Planning Index (LPI) must be less than 60. Local agencies can run a report here to find those bridges that have LPIs less than 60. The LPI eligibility requirements took effect on January 1, 2020.

Alternatively, even if the LPI is greater than or equal to 60, it will be considered eligible for state bridge funds or township bridge funds if the NBI rating is 3 or less for deck geometry, approach roadway, or waterway adequacy. Also, just a reminder that if a planned roadway reconstruction project will cause a poor NBI rating, the bridge is not eligible for LBRP funds.

We recognize that the new LPI eligibility criteria and the old criteria prior to January 1, 2020 may result in some bridges being eligible under one set of criteria, but not the other. Accordingly, through December 31, 2024, we will consider bridges to be eligible under the old rules if both of the following are true:

  • The bridge was identified as a priority for replacement on a county board or city council resolution prior to January 1, 2020, and
  • The bridge met the previous condition eligible criteria (note that township bridges only need to satisfy condition ‘1’ below):
    1. As of January 1, 2020, the Sufficiency Rating was less than 80, and
    2. As of January 1, 2020, the bridge was considered structurally deficient and/or functionally obsolete.

If your agency has a bridge it is advancing for replacement that does not meet the current LPI criteria, but is eligible under the pre-January 1, 2020 criteria identified above, please contact me to discuss further.

2. Appear on a Bridge Replacement Priority Resolution

State Aid has updated the guidance and resolution template on the Bridge Replacement Priority List Resolution webpage. One important note is that only bridges that are planned for replacement or major rehabilitation should appear on the list. Bridges that require overlays, crack sealing, new joints, bearings, painting or other more maintenance and repair related work should not appear on the list. Note, bridge maintenance and repair work can use state aid funding on state aid routes, but state bridge funds and township bridge funds are reserved for replacement, major rehabilitation, and removal projects.

Please adopt a new resolution every year or two. State Aid maintains a master list of all bridges identified for replacement, major rehabilitation, or removal. And it’s important that the master list be as current as possible as this list is used for lobbying purposes to demonstrate the need for local bridge funding. Please email updated resolutions to Marc Briese and copy your District State Aid Engineer (DSAE).

3. Approved State Bridge Funding Application

State bridge funding application must be complete and signed by the applicant and District State Aid Engineer. Please use the most current version of the bridge funding application template, which can be found here.

4. Plans Complete

Plans must be complete, reviewed and approved by State Aid Bridge and/or the DSAE, and be ready for final signatures. Standard culvert bridge plans typically are reviewed and approved by the DSAE, while plans for more traditional bridges must be reviewed by the State Aid Bridge Engineer and approved by the MnDOT State Bridge Engineer. For more information, see the submittal and acceptance process for bridge projects on the Bridge State Aid Resources webpage.

When these four items are complete, the DSAE will send a request to the State Aid Programs group for a funding letter. If state bridge funds or township bridge funds are available, State Aid can usually turn around a funding letter in a day or two. If state bridge funds are not available, the bridge project will go on the bridge waiting list and will be considered for funding if and when additional state bridge funds are appropriated by the legislature. For town bridges, if the county has depleted its regular town bridge funds, the county may be able to access funds through the special town bridge fund or, if special town bridge funds are not available, by advancing future town bridge funds.

If you decide to proceed with a bridge project without state or township bridge funds, please let us know so we can update the master list.