5:50 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

PennDOT Identifies 1,000 Bridges to Get New or Tougher Weight Limits

PennDOT is placing weight restrictions on about 1,000 bridges across the state as a result of the Legislature’s failure to approve funding for infrastructure.

Secretary Barry Schoch said new or harsher weight restrictions will be posted in the next four to five months.                    

"For the bridges that are in poor condition, that we’re going to reduce the safe load carrying capacity by 10 percent," Schoch said. "For bridges that are in severe condition, and this is purely on engineering analysis, we’re going to reduce those by 20 percent and then post the bridges according to that criteria. Also, if a bridge has over 500 trucks a day, it will get a 20 percent reduction in load-carrying capacity."

The weight restrictions will be enacted at a rate of about 200 per month as the department and local governments post new signs.

Local and state police will be responsible for enforcing the weight limits.

Schoch said the effect on motorists will be minimal, but school buses and commercial trucks may have to lengthen their routes to avoid restricted bridges.

He said that will eventually lead to higher costs of goods and services.

Bridges closed to fire trucks and ambulances could also mean longer response times for public safety workers.