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PennDOT adding weight restrictions to 1,000 PA bridges

PENNSYLVANIA -- One thousand Pennsylvania bridges, including close to 100 in Central PA, have been added to a growing list of bridges deemed structurally deficient. As the legislature continues to delay funding for repairs, PennDOT has come up with a temporary plan to slow the deterioration process.

"We have one of the oldest infrastructures in the country, and it's one where the bridge problem in particular is something that's been a problem for quite a while," said Barry Schoch, state Secretary of Transportation. "Unfortunately today, we're at a step where we need to deal with the consequence."

But the secretary said the bridges are not in grave danger yet. For now, PennDOT said it's just adding or increasing weight restrictions to those bridges as a preventative measure.

"They are not unsafe, not unsafe. We're restricting the weight so we can slow down the deterioration and so we can apply our resources," said Schoch. "... to make sure we don't have a bigger problem coming at us in the future."

PennDOT said it was originally hoping to make repairs on the bridges, but that funding never came through. Now, PennDOT said, the added weight restrictions are a necessary measure it's already waited too long to propose.

"Every yaer, 300 bridges will age into a situation where they become structurally deficient," said Schoch. "It's a step that's necessary. It's one we're taking to extend the life of the bridges and extend the program for all the bridges across the state."

PennDOT said it will begin posting new weight limit signs on the affected bridges by the end of the month. It's already began notifying school bus operators and emergency officials.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times