With no funding for repairs, Pa. bridges may be off limits to heaviest vehicles

    Weight limits on aging bridges across Pennsylvania may be in place by the fall.

    The move would be a direct result of the failure to pass a $2 billion transportation-funding plan in the state Legislature.


    PennDOT has 1,200 bridges in its sights that would be weight-restricted — meaning certain vehicles would have to find detours.

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    Department of Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch says he’s not sure how soon that will begin.

    “Whether it’ll occur this summer is based on the age and the analysis of the bridge, which we’re going to do,” he said. “We’ll let you know whether it’ll happen this summer, whether it’ll happen this fall. … Without question, without action in the fall, it will happen in the fall.”

    Railway ramifications

    Bridges aren’t the only thing at immediate risk in the commonwealth without a major cash infusion.

    Amtrak train service between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh is in jeopardy. Schoch says transit systems in the Philadelphia area are now unfunded.

    Because of the uncertainty, SEPTA has been unable to finalize its budget for the fiscal year that started Monday. Instead the officials approved a one-month budget, an unusual move for the agency.

    “Riders should know that, in the short term, the lack of a transportation funding bill will not impact service,” said spokeswoman Jerri Williams. As SEPTA continues to press for “a strong transportation bill that will provide critical investment into our aging infrastructure, failure to address this need will affect the reliability and quality of transportation in the region.”

    In Pittsburgh, the lack of a funding bill may cause a labor agreement with the Port Authority to unravel.

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