State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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PennDOT: Bridge weight limits to start in August

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Jul 31, 2013 9:13 PM

As students start heading back to school this year, they may find their bus routes increasing to avoid weight-restricted bridges across the state.

The head of PennDOT told a state Senate panel on Wednesday that lawmakers will find out in the next few weeks which bridges will be limited to heavy traffic, due to the Legislature's failure to pass a transportation funding bill.

Secretary Barry Schoch said he expects the weight restrictions to cause problems for commercial truckers as well as public safety.

"School buses, emergency services," Schoch said, ticking items off a list. "You can imagine if you live along that Perry County bridge, and emergency services have to go on a 26 mile detour to get to your house, what kind of response time does that add to them?"

2,200 state and locally-owned bridges are now candidates for weight restrictions, and Schoch said 1,100 will be "posted" in August. He has been warning for the past six months that heavy traffic on bridges may be limited to slow down the deterioration of Pennsylvania's bridges.

"At this point unfortunately my hands are tied," Schoch told the Senate Transportation Committee. "We don't have the revenue to take care of all these bridges so this is [the] consequence."

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