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WATERLOO – Two downtown Waterloo bridges that span the Cedar River will be replaced under a federal bridge grant announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, the city announced Thursday.

In total, $225 million in Competitive Highway Bridge Program (CHBP) grant funding was announced, awarded to 20 projects in 18 states. The grants will fund a variety of bridge improvements including replacement and rehabilitation.

The largest individual grant, for $33.4 million, was awarded to the Iowa Department of Transportation to improve up to 77 bridges in poor or fair condition. The improvements will benefit primarily farm-to-market routes across the state.

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association found that nearly 20% of Iowa’s bridges are structurally deficient.

As part of the grant, the city of Waterloo has been awarded $12.5 million for the replacement of the 11th Street and Park Avenue bridges. Waterloo was one of four cities to receive funding and the only city to have two bridges receive funding.

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The Park Avenue bridge, the city’s second-oldest bridge, was built in 1938. In 2015, city officials called it deteriorated and in need of replacing. It is the oldest of the eight major city-owned bridges crossing the Cedar River.

The 11th Street bridge was built in 1953 and also has been suffering from declining condition and falling inspection reports.

The project will be led by the Iowa DOT in the fall of 2021 with construction to start in the spring of 2022. Both bridges will be closed and replaced at the same time.

The last Cedar River bridge replaced was at 18th Street.

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Nancy Newhoff

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