State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Bridge postings won't all disappear with new funding plan

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 26, 2013 11:04 PM
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PennDOT is re-evaluating the weight restrictions placed on structurally deficient bridges earlier this year.

Additional weight restrictions, placed on bridges in August, were the direct effect of the Legislature's failure to approve extra transportation funding in June.

But the removal of such postings won't be as swift.

"Weight restrictions will either come off or be lessened only if they have repairs scheduled within two years," said PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt. And that's if a safety review shows that they can handle a load for that two years."

About 1,000 bridges were scheduled to get new or additional weight restrictions. Of that figure, signs were posted on about 400 state-owned bridges and about 100 locally-owned bridges. Waters-Trasatt said it's unclear now how many of those signs will be removed - or how many more signs will never be put up because funds for repairs have been secured through the new transportation plan recently signed by Gov. Corbett.

"We're going to be looking at all the bridges that have weight restrictions and looking at our system as a whole and seeing which of these we can either adjust the ratings on or maybe take the restrictions fully off," she said.

Industry groups, including coal companies and farmers, complained that limiting some bridges to lighter loads would make business' operating costs go up. They said some trucks would be forced to take longer detours to make deliveries or carry less cargo to cross the bridges they couldn't avoid.

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