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Municipal Bridge Program & Guidance

Anthony Wayne Bridge, Toledo

The Municipal Bridge Program provides federal funds to municipal corporations, metroparks and Regional Transit Authorities for bridge replacement or bridge rehabilitation projects. Bridges must be open to vehicular traffic. A funding limit of $2 million per project is set.

Application Requirements

The Local Programs staff maintain and update guidelines including an online application process.

An extra solicitation cycle opens January 1, 2023.

Municipal Bridge Program Guidance

The Municipal Bridge Program provides federal funds to municipal corporations, metroparks and Regional Transit Authorities for bridge replacement or bridge rehabilitation projects. Bridges must be open to vehicular traffic. A funding limit of $2 million per project is set.

ODOT will provide up to 80% of eligible costs for construction only (including construction engineering, i.e., testing and inspection), up to the specified funding limit. Currently, 15% Toll Revenue Credit (TRC) is available to increase the Federal percentage to 95% and will continue as long as TRC is available, which is currently through fiscal year 2027. The local entity is responsible for the 5% non-federal share of the construction costs, ineligible construction items, and construction costs over the established project cap, as well as all costs associated with preliminary engineering, environmental studies and documents, final design and right of way.  The local match for construction is required to be cash.  In-kind contributions cannot be accepted as part of the local share.  The municipality must demonstrate the ability and commitment to oversee the project through to completion.

A General Engineering Services Task Order is in the process of being set up and finalized. Once established, this task order will be available for use by the awarded applicants to help with general engineering services tasks, such as preliminary engineering and design. The use of the task order will be on a first come, first serve basis. Additionally, the use of the task order is in excess of the awarded construction amount and does not take away from the stated project cap amount in the award letter. Please check the website frequently after the solicitation cycle ends for updates: Municipal Bridge Program & Guidance | Ohio Department of Transportation. 

To be eligible for the Municipal Bridge program, the bridge must:

  • be owned by a city, village, metropark or RTA, 
  • be open to vehicular traffic (this requirement may be waived if the bridge was closed within the last 5 years due to concern for public safety of the traveling public),
  • meet the federal definition of a bridge, 
  • be defined as "poor", 
    • have a deck summary rating, superstructure rating or substructure rating of 4 or less

For a list of this solicitation cycle’s eligible bridges, refer to the Target Bridge List posted on this web page. An updated list will be posted at least a month before that year’s solicitation cycle. Some eligible bridges may not appear on the Target Bridge List due to the timing between when the list was generated and when an inspection occurs. If an inspection occurs after the list was generated and the bridge is now eligible, an application may be submitted as long as AssetWise (formerly SMS) is updated by the application due date to verify eligibility. 

Depending on the proposed work, a structure type and/or a hydraulics analysis may be required to determine the appropriate structure and work. If either or both are necessary, they should be done prior to requesting Municipal Bridge funds. Knowing the appropriate structure type enables the applicant to provide a more accurate cost estimate and project schedule, increasing the likelihood the project stays on budget and on schedule.   

A criteria-based project selection process has been developed to focus on eliminating deficiencies (both on and off Federal-Aid Highways), while keeping within a financial plan that utilizes existing available resources.  Funding of all projects will be linked to defined deficiencies, so each dollar invested results in system improvement.

A scoring system has been established to be used in prioritizing projects.  The scoring criteria includes items currently utilized for traditional funding of bridge projects such as Substructure Condition Rating, Superstructure Condition Rating, Deck Condition Rating, and Legally Posted Bridge Load Limit.  Other categories used are Economic Health and Regional Impact. 

In addition to this scoring system, a multi-disciplinary committee reviews the applications and provides feedback and a determination for each project. The committee’s determinations are taken into consideration when selecting projects to award funding. Lastly, whether the municipality has been awarded funds in previous years may also play a factor in the decision to award, depending on the amount of funding requested during this year’s solicitation cycle.

The scope of the project and commitment dates are established and agreed upon by the municipality, ODOT, and MPO, if applicable, when the project is programmed.  These dates are the milestones for each phase of the project through final inspection.  The number and types of milestones differ as to whether a project is sold and administered by ODOT or by the applicant.  It is crucial that each party is committed to meeting the milestone dates established. Failure on the part of the applicant to meet the agreed upon milestone dates could result in a withdrawal of funding by ODOT.

Federal law requires that Federally funded projects conform to the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.  To comply with these laws, projects must have an environmental review to assess and/or mitigate effects on social, economic, and environmental factors.  Any property acquisition must conform to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act, as amended.

Eligible Work

Municipal Bridge funds may be used for the following:

  • Bridge Replacement
  • Bridge Rehabilitation
  • Bridge Demolition
  • Minimal Approach Work: as necessary and related to the bridge project (general rule of thumb is 50’ on each side but will be decided upon completion of the scope of the project)
  • Utilities: if attached to  the bridge and absolutely  necessary to the project to move or replace (will not pay for “upgrades” to the current system, e.g. a 30’ pipe rather than the existing 24’)

Ineligible items include, but are not limited to:

  • New Roadway
  • Roadway Improvements: except approach work necessary to complete the bridge project
  • Utilities: except in circumstances noted in the eligible section above
  • Upgrades to Existing Utilities
  • Pedestrian Bridges
  • Rail Bridges
  • Design Risk Contingency costs
  • Right-of-Way
  • Preliminary Engineering
  • Environmental work
  • Design work (unless using the Municipal Bridge General Engineering Services Task Order)

Application Process

  1. This extra project solicitation process will begin January 1, 2023 of each year.  This annual solicitation process will be for the last two years of a rolling four-year program (i.e., January 2023 solicitation will be for award during the SFY 2025 and 2026 program years).  An award in SFY 2024 will be considered if your respective ODOT District LPA personnel concur the project can be awarded within that timeframe. The applicant will complete an application for funds and submit on-line to the Municipal Bridge Program Manager by February 28, 2023. The application form will be made available through the Office of Local Programs’ website on the first day of the solicitation cycle.  Along with the completed application, the following information should be submitted to help with the review and evaluation:
     
    1. Project location map
    2. Photographs of project site (limit of 10 photographs)
    3. Project scope
    4. Detailed project schedule (include date ranges, not just length of time or a year with no date ranges) *
    5. Cost estimate that includes all sources of funding by phase and a breakdown of costs for the proposed project*
    6. Project plans, if developed.

      *These items are required to be submitted with the application. Any applications submitted without these will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be considered for award.

      Note: Multiple bridges on one application are not allowable. Separate applications must be submitted for each bridge. If submitting multiple applications, the applicant must state which bridge is the higher priority for the municipality somewhere within each application.
       
  2. The application and submitted data will be verified and evaluated by a multi-disciplinary committee comprised of Central Office and District personnel.  The Municipal Bridge Program Manager will then review and score the applications.
     
  3. Once the applications are reviewed and evaluated, project applicants will be invited to present their application before the committee. This allows any questions the committee may have during the evaluation to be answered directly by the project applicant. Questions will be presented to the project applicant at least two days before the scheduled presentation, so they can be addressed during the applicant’s scheduled time. Presentations are limited to no longer than 15 minutes per application: 10 minutes for the actual presentation and 5 minutes for any additional questions.
     
  4. The Program Manager will select the proposed projects based on merit and availability of Program funds.  It should be emphasized the scoring process does not require the Program Manager to fund projects in strict order of their ranking.  The ranking is a means to help the committee generally prioritize projects.  Other factors determined to be relevant will be taken into consideration, such as committee recommendations, past project delivery performance, funding awarded in previous years, and availability of additional funding sources.
     
  5. Once the projects have been selected, the Municipal Bridge Program Manager will notify the applicants of the results no later than June 1.

Municipal Bridge Program Scoring Criteria

The following is the scoring system to prioritize the funding of projects for municipally owned bridges.  The scoring criteria includes items currently utilized for traditional funding of bridge projects such as Substructure Condition Rating, Superstructure Condition Rating, Deck Condition Rating, and Legally Posted Bridge Load Limit.  Other categories are Economic Health and Regional Impact for a total maximum score of 100 points.

Category

Maximum Points

Weight

Factor

Total

Points

1. Substructure Condition Rating

10

1.5

15

2. Superstructure Condition Rating

10

1.5

15

3.  Deck Condition Rating

10

1.5

15

4. Bridge Load Limit

10

1.5

15

5.  Economic Health

10

1.5

15

6.  Regional Impact

10

2.5

25

Total Maximum Score     =

 

100


A description and explanation of the scoring criteria is outlined below.

  1. Substructure Condition Rating
    Substructure Condition Rating is a measure of the physical condition of piers, abutments, piles, fenders, footings, or other components. It is based on the existing condition of the substructure as compared to its as-built condition.  Substructure Condition Rating is rated from 0-9, with a rating of 5 or more being a bridge in acceptable condition.  The Substructure Condition Rating values are kept in the Bridge Inventory database maintained by ODOT.
     

    Substructure Condition Rating

    Points

    1-2

    10

    3

    8

    4

    6

    5-9

    0


    Due to the significance of the Substructure Condition Rating to the safety and serviceability of the bridge, this category has a weight factor of 1.5, for a maximum total point value of 15.
     
  2. Superstructure Condition Rating
    Superstructure Condition Rating is a measure of the physical condition of all the structural members. It is based on the existing condition of the substructure as compared to its as-built condition.  Superstructure Condition Rating is rated from 0-9, with a rating of 5 or more being a bridge in acceptable condition.  The Superstructure Condition Rating values are kept in the Bridge Inventory database maintained by ODOT.
     

    Superstructure Condition Rating

    Points

    1-2

    10

    3

    8

    4

    6

    5-9

    0


    Due to the significance of the Superstructure Condition Rating to the safety and serviceability of the bridge, this category has a weight factor of 1.5, for a maximum total point value of 15.
     
  3. Deck Condition Rating
    Deck Condition Rating is a measure of the condition of the floor and wearing surface of the bridge deck.  It is based on the existing condition of the bridge deck as compared to its as-built condition.  Deck Condition Rating is rated from 0-9, with a rating of 5 or more being a bridge in acceptable condition.  The Deck Condition Rating values are kept in the Bridge Inventory database maintained by ODOT.
     

    Deck Condition Rating

    Points

    1-2

    10

    3

    8

    4

    6

    5-9

    0


    Due to the significance of the Deck Condition Rating to the safety and serviceability of the bridge, this category has a weight factor of 1.5, for a maximum total point value of 15.
     
  4. Bridge Load Limit
    The legally posted bridge load limit, along with the general appraisal and aforementioned condition ratings, is a measure used to determine when it is time to replace or rehabilitate a bridge. It is based on the current condition of the bridge and the carrying capacity of vehicular traffic. Any bridge less than 100% should be considered structurally deficient. 
     

    Legal Bridge Load Limit

    Points

    ˂12.5%

    10

    25-12.4%

    8

    37.5-24.9%

    6

    50-37.4%

    4

    ˃50%

    0


    Due to the significance of the Bridge Load Limit to the safety of the bridge, this category has a weight factor of 1.5, for a maximum total point value of 15.
     
  5. Economic Health
    This item recognizes that Ohio local governments are not equal in their financial wealth.  To achieve some measure of equity among entities, the level of economic distress is evaluated based on the unemployment rate in the county where the project sponsor is located (current rate posted on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website).  The Economic Health factor awards points to local entities having an unemployment rate that is higher than the statewide rate.
     

    Municipal Unemployment Rate in Relation to the Statewide Rate

    Points

    2.1% or greater than statewide rate

    10

    1.6%-2% greater than statewide rate

    8

    1.1%-1.5% greater than statewide rate

    6

    0.6%-1.0% greater than statewide rate

    4

    0.1 – 0.5% greater than statewide rate

    2

    equal to or below statewide average

    0


    This category has a weight factor of 1.5, for a maximum total point value of 15.
     
  6. Regional Impact
    This item accounts for the bridge’s significance to the area and is based on the Average Daily Traffic (ADT).  ADT is the volume of existing traffic on the route annualized to a daily average. The existing ADT should be provided on the application, not an anticipated future ADT. 
     

    ADT

    Points

    30,000 or greater

    10

    20,000 to 29,999

    8

    10,000 to 19,999

    6

    5,000 - 9,999

    4

    2,000 to 4,999

    2

    0 to 1,999

    0


    This category has a weight factor of 2.5, for a maximum total point value of 25.

Application Tips

To help ensure a strong and successful application, the municipality may want to keep the following points in mind when writing the funding application:

  1. Ensure the proposed work is eligible for the Municipal Bridge Program. If there are parts of the project that are not eligible for this program, clearly identify how these components will be paid for if the project is awarded funding and separate them from the requested amount.
  2. If applicable, leverage additional sources of funding to pay for components of the project eligible for various funding sources or not eligible for Municipal Bridge funding. For example, if there are sidewalks, pedestrian safety components, multi-use paths, etc., the applicant will also want to plan on applying for TAP and/or Safety funding for those components not eligible for Municipal Bridge funding or better suited for those programs for a more complete, multi-modal project.
  3. Perform some or most upfront analysis to determine the appropriate work needed for the current conditions. Doing some upfront work helps ensure the proposed work is applicable, the project stays on schedule and helps alleviate project costs overruns during design.
  4. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This program is highly competitive, and the committee does look at prior awards to help spread the wealth across the state. Don’t be discouraged if you were recently awarded funding for one project and not funded for a subsequent project. Keep applying and if the committee recommended any suggestions for the next application take those into consideration before re-applying.