Weight restrictions in store for 1,100 Pa. bridges

    Some truckers, bus drivers, and emergency responders may see their routes getting longer as Pennsylvania moves to limit traffic on bridges.

     

    It all stems from the Legislature’s failure to pass a transportation funding bill.

    State lawmakers knew this was coming – they just didn’t know when.

    PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says his agency will decide in August which of about 2,200 bridges will have weight restrictions imposed.

    The move is a direct consequence of not having new revenue from proposed higher gas taxes and motorist fees – the big money generators in a bill that stalled in the state House in June.

    Schoch says the restrictions could add up to 26 miles to the commutes of heavier vehicles that will have to avoid the flagged bridges.

    “At this point, unfortunately, my hands are tied,” he said Wednesday. “We don’t have the revenue to take care of all these bridges so this is [the] consequence.

    Schoch, who said about 1,100 state and locally owned bridges will be restricted, said the limits are intended to slow the bridges’ deterioration since available funding for repairs is low.

    It’s “going to drop this year from $2 billion, where we’ve been as a baseline averaging for the last several years, down to about $1.6 billion this year. So it’ll be a direct effect on jobs,” he said. “Even if we do get action this fall, we’ve lost this construction season.”

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