Will the feds pay for new bridges on East Stadium Boulevard? Homayoon Pirooz, head of the city’s Public Services Department, sure hopes so. He points out that January’s economic stimulus bill includes “$1.5 billion for surface transportation infrastructure capital improvements.” The city needs to snag $24 million of it to replace the paired bridges just east of Michigan Stadium.

The bridge over South State dates to 1917, and its twin over the Ann Arbor Railroad was built in 1928. They’re in such terrible shape that two of the four lanes were shut down in March to ease the load on them. The city is working on designs for replacements, and Pirooz says he thinks “our chances of qualifying for the discretionary fund or some other federal funds are relatively good.” If so, he says, the feds “will pay for the entire project cost.”

If not, the current traffic headache could become a long-term financial pain: if the feds don’t foot the $24 million bill, Pirooz says, the city will have to “begin an open dialogue about how to locally fund the construction of the project.”