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(CONCORD, N.H.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today visited Sewalls Falls Bridge in East Concord to discuss the need for long-term federal transportation funding to replace the aging bridge and other critical infrastructure projects across New Hampshire. Shaheen was joined by Concord Mayor Jim Bouley and other city officials.

“The problem is pretty simple: If there isn’t a real commitment to finance repairs of our roads and bridges, they don’t get fixed,” said Shaheen. “The Sewalls Falls Bridge is a critical project that’s been on-hold because of a shortfall in the National Highway Trust Fund. Leadership in Congress need to propose a long-term highway bill that allows for work on the Sewalls Falls bridge to finally get underway. I will continue to use every opportunity to urge Congress to pass a highway funding bill that makes the future investments needed to support public safety and commerce in our Granite State communities.”

Sewalls Falls Bridge, originally constructed in 1915, was closed in December after it was deemed unsafe for traffic. Prior to its closing the bridge’s weight limit had been downgraded to 3 tons, a move that lengthened emergency response times to certain areas of Concord. Senator Shaheen wrote to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting that it expedite approval of the project, which was subsequently granted. However, authorization for the Highway Trust Fund expires on May 31 and U.S. DOT projects the fund will become insolvent in late July, while Congressional leadership has not yet introduced a long-term highway authorization bill that would provide the stable federal funding so critical to this project and many others around New Hampshire. In recent years, Congress has resorted to passing short-term highway bills at the last minute which do not provide the guaranteed funding over many years that many projects need to begin construction work.  

New Hampshire has 775 bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 37% of state roads are rated as being in poor condition.