The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has been awarded a $23.7 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) Grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

The grant money will pay for upgrading or replacing 42 rail bridges that are past their intended lifespan and need immediate repair or replacement. The bridges are located along 10 different short lines and in 12 different counties. Most of the structures are in rural areas.

“Short-lines are critically important components of Tennessee’s multimodal transportation network and to rural economies,” said TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley. “Rehabilitation of the rail bridge infrastructure will lead to economic gains in the communities they serve with jobs, improved and expanded operations, and enhance supply chain efficiency and safety as it keeps large, heavy cargo and hazardous commodities off our highways.”

In 2021, Governor Lee and the legislature provided a landmark $85M to TDOT to address the infrastructure needs of the state’s short-line program. Leveraging those funds with the short-line authorities is what positioned TDOT to effectively secure the CRISI Grant. A successful public-private partnership and another example of working together at a local, state, and federal level to address transportation infrastructure needs in Tennessee.

As the lead applicant, TDOT will manage the grant award collaborating with rail operators, rail authorities, rural communities, and industries to fund and complete this bridge bundle project. Most of the bridges are old timber structures that will be rebuilt or rehabilitated to ensure safe and reliable operations for years to come.

The bridges are in the following counties: Cumberland, Davidson, Dyer, Gibson, Knox, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Obion, Putnam, Roane, and Smith.