Emergency Relief Program (ER)



The decision to seek ER financial assistance for repair of either State or LPA Federal-aid highways or roads rests with NDOT. FHWA may approve Federal ER funding for roads and bridges on the Federal-aid system that are damaged as a direct result of a proclaimed natural disaster or catastrophic failure. Rural minor collectors or local roads are not considered as being on the Federal-aid system. The Governor, or the President, must make an official disaster proclamation.

  • There must be a minimum of $5,000 per each damage site and;
  • A minimum of $700,000 per disaster (with a maximum reimbursement cap of $100 million per State)


The funds must be used to restore a roadway or bridge to “pre-disaster” condition. Betterments are typically not eligible for ER funding. Betterments include enhancing or upgrading the project to where the repair would be greater than restoring to its original state. Betterments may be approved by FHWA with proper justification such as: increasing culvert size, meeting current standards, etc., in which a well-documented life-cycle cost analysis is a main factor. It is advisable that the LPA review FHWA’s Emergency Relief Manual early in the process in order to learn, understand, or get reacquainted with eligibility and other issues associated with FHWA’s ER program.


Damage to roadways or bridges must be severe, occur over a wide area, and result in unusually high expenses to the LPA. The ER program also applies to catastrophic failures (sudden and complete failures due to an external cause) which result in a disastrous impact on transportation services and unusually high expenses to the LPA. Economic hardship is not a basis to support use of ER funds.



For any questions regarding the Nebraska March 2019 Flooding Emergency Relief efforts, please contact,


Additional Resources:

For updates on road and bridge openings, visit the
Nebraska Flood 2019 page.


For updates on reimbursement to counties,
or updates on road and bridge openings, visit the

County Reimbursement Status page.