News

PennDOT orders first comprehensive bridge assessment

Written by Megan Lello | Jan 28, 2013 4:00 AM

(Reading) -- Thousands of undocumented bridges in Pennsylvania could turn up in a new inventory taken by county and municipal planning departments.

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PennDOT has ordered the agencies to identify smaller bridges and report their locations, sizes, and types.

Berks County Transportation Planner Alan Piper says PennDOT is only required to regularly inspect some bridges. "PennDOT does collect an inventory of any bridge that's over 20 feet in length, whether it's on a state or a local road. But on the local roads, bridges that fall between eight and 20 feet are not inspected."

Piper says Berks County has inspected about 1,200 structures so far and could end up with nearly 300 undocumented bridges.

He says upgrades for large bridges are usually paid for with federal funding, but improvements to small bridges come out of municipalities' budgets.

Berks County is expected to compete its preliminary evaluations by this summer, but it's not clear yet how his county and surrounding areas will use the data.

*This article has been amended to reflect the type of information PennDOT is requesting. Agencies are reporting the location, type, and size of a bridge, but are not rating its condition.

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