by Lauren Daley
The state Department of Transportation today announced weight restrictions for about 1,000 structurally deficient bridges across the state.
The restrictions are a result of state lawmakers failing to pass a transportation-funding bill earlier this summer, and are something PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch has threatened would be an outcome of inaction.
The weight reductions, PennDOT said in a press release, will slow down bridge "deterioration and preserve safety while funding for their repairs remains uncertain." A number of state- and locally owned bridges in Allegheny County, including the Liberty Bridge, will receive the restrictions — which begin Aug. 29.
“For months I’ve been explaining to Pennsylvanians and to lawmakers that there are very real consequences to not enacting a transportation funding plan,” Schoch said in a press release. “Without additional revenues anticipated in the future, I have to make the safe and responsible decision to reduce how much weight is crossing these deteriorating bridges.”
Schoch went on to say that even if the legislature passes a transportation package in the fall, weight restrictions could be removed, at the earliest, within two years, when there would be funding for repairs.
“We have a serious funding need and the legislature still has not acted to pass a comprehensive transportation plan," Shoch said. "I have to look ahead to the future and preserve these bridges because, without action, we will not have money to invest in them for a long time.”
More information on bridge weight restrictions as well as a comprehensive list can be found here.