For the first time, PennDOT is conducting an inventory of all the bridges in Pennsylvania. Previously, the agency was only required to keep a log of any state or locally owned bridge more than 20 feet in length.
PennDOT spokesperson, Erin Waters-Trasatt, said only numbers and not conditions would be reported. “This initiative is taking a bridge and local road inventory. It is not assessing or inspecting these roads and bridges,” Waters-Trasatt said.
Money for any necessary repairs on large bridges comes mostly from federal funding. Smaller bridges that need improvements receive most of their funding from local budgets.
The number of undocumented bridges could range in to the thousands. Waters-Trasatt said the goal is to create a reliable database.
“Once we have the complete, current data, then we’ll have a system in place where it can be updated moving forward and we’ll always keep in touch with our regional and metropolitan planning partners, as well as local governments, to ensure that that happens,” Waters-Trasatt said.
Some counties expect the inventory to take most of the summer.