Alaska is scheduled to receive a more than $11 million grant to repair two Seward Highway bridges and replace a third — all about 20 miles north of Seward — the Federal Highway Administration said on Thursday.

The money will be used to repair two bridges spanning the Snow River and entirely replace the Victor Creek Bridge.

The grants are part of $225 million award for 20 projects in 18 states, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced in a news release.

The federal government restricts these funds to areas where the population is less than 100 people per square mile and Alaska was among 25 states to qualify.

According to DOT, the funds must be used for highway bridge replacement or rehabilitation projects that have at least two bridge projects on a single contract.

This is called bundling and it’s designed to save time and costs, ideal for reducing project backlog, the agency said.

“One of the reasons Alaska was selected was because they were so aggressive in their timeline of how quickly they could get their construction started," Federal Highway Administrator Nicole Nason said in a prepared interview. “So, our job at the Federal Highway Administration is to get them this $11.6 million as soon as possible so they can get to work for all Alaskans.”

The total grant amount is $11,567,000.

Nason said Alaska's construction season that is typically shorter than the rest of the country, but knows how to efficiently complete projects. 

“One thing the Alaska Department of Transportation knows, and has made very clear to us at the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, is that there is a very short construction season in Alaska,” Nason said. “They are innovative when it comes to how they can bundle bridge projects, how they can use the same crews, how they can use the same materials, how they can use the equipment to get construction done faster. And this is something Alaska is good at and this was a point Alaska made in the application to us at the federal level.”

There is no word on when work will begin, but a spokesperson for Alaska's DOT says the funds require construction begin Sept. 30, 2021. Alaska will have five years to complete the project.

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