Highway construction boosted amid COVID-19 pandemic

Highway construction boosted amid COVID-19 pandemic

CalTrans, the department of transportation of California, was supposed to initiate the construction work of a highway project in mid-July. The project included the repairing and repaving of 101 Freeway that connects San Francisco with the mainland. The project was completed by the department in April due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is not a usual thing to complete a project before it was originally expected to begin.

Bart Ney, a spokesman of CalTrans, said, “In the Bay Area, it was one of our busier years.” The coronavirus lockdown was a big reason behind the completion of the project months ahead of schedule. The department had to reduce the traffic by 30% to start working on that project. Due to the pandemic, the traffic reduction was brought to 40% amid the stay-at-home order.

A similar thing happened in Colorado where a project related to the addition of an express lane was able to accelerate a month. Presley Fowler, the spokeswoman of the Colorado Department of Traffic, said that COVID-19 brought traffic down to 50%. The Federal Highway Administration told the media in April that the US citizens drove 40% fewer miles as compared to the same time in 2019.

The highway projects in Nevada, Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, and Texas started ahead of schedule due to the traffic reduction occurred amid COVID-19. However, some states applied brakes on the highway projects due to the lack of funding. They suffered from huge losses in terms of gas tax revenue.

Road work was not included in the CARES Act. Congress is working on the passage of a transportation bill. However, the bill is still not passed. With the reopening of economies, the traffic volume has increased substantially up to 80% of its pre-COVID-19 levels. It will help the states to gather gas tax revenue to cover up their losses. Some states said that they were short billions of dollars in funding.

Guest Writer

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