Essential Pittsburgh
4:16 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Bridges Around the State Evaluated by PennDOT

Most Pittsburgh bridges are in need of some sort of restoration.
Most Pittsburgh bridges are in need of some sort of restoration.
Credit jeffrybt / flickr

In the wake of the deadly bridge collapse in Washington, interest has increased in the current condition and safety of Pennsylvania’s bridges. With the average age of bridges on the state system well over 50, PennDOT must evaluate the numerous bridges and consider the needs and costs of the state infrastructure.   According the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Allegheny County has 2,247 bridges yet many of them are categorized as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

To be structurally deficient, a bridge must require significant maintenance and be inspected each year while functionally obsolete bridges no longer meet the current standards used today.  Allegheny County has 296 structurally deficient bridges and 333 functionally obsolete bridges. The Fort Pitt, Portal and Fort Duquesne bridges are all considered functionally obsolete.  How much longer can the city continue regular usage of these bridges before they need work?  PennDOT is committed to reducing the number of structurally deficient bridges throughout the state, but to reach the national average, they would have to restore 400 bridges each year for the next 12 years.

Guests: Scott Christie, Deputy Secretary of Highway Administration, joins us to discuss the health, the risks, and the costs of Pennsylvania bridges.