bridges

Flickr user bbyrnes59

Transportation advocates in Pittsburgh and more than 100 other American cities are joining forces to call attention to the fast-approaching expiration of surface transportation funding from the federal government.

Thursday is being billed as Stand Up for Transportation Day. Chris Sandvig, regional policy director from the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, said most people don’t realize that funding is about to dry up.

Within the next three years, 558 bridges throughout Pennsylvania will be replaced.

PennDOT announced Monday that it had finalized the terms for its Rapid Bridge Replacement Project.

“The construction and some of the maintenance will cost roughly $899 million,” said PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt. “But we’re expecting to save a good bit for each bridge compared to if we were going through our typical process, and it’s happening much faster than it normally would.”

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

This is the third story of a three-part series on the state's bridges.

About seven years ago, the Bridge Maintenance Engineer for the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Lee Floyd, was concerned about one of his bridge’s ability to hold up while a replacement was built. He placed sensors on the bridge to monitor how it behaved and found that actually he could keep it open without any temporary repairs.

The State of PA's Bridges, Part 2: Rebuilding Them Faster

Dec 9, 2014
Keystone Crossroads

This is the second story of a three-part series on the state's bridges.

Twenty-three percent of Pennsylvania's bridges are structurally deficient, and many need to be replaced. But between permitting, design, and construction, building a new bridge takes years.

That's why the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is trying to speed things up.

The State of PA's Bridges, Part 1: How Are They Holding Up?

Dec 8, 2014
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

This is the first story of our three-part series on the state's bridges.

If you drive in Pennsylvania, you've probably crossed a structurally deficient bridge. Maybe you're driving over one right now.

Pennsylvania has more than 30,000 bridges. Some span rivers, like the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, and others are much smaller, crossing rural creeks and highways. More than 6,000 of these bridges are structurally deficient. (We put together an interactive map of the state's structurally deficient bridges.)

The National Science Foundation has awarded $9.65 million to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Monday to create a user-friendly supercomputer called “Bridges.”

Unlike other systems that require users to login, punch in commands using specialized computing skills and wait a few days for the results, Bridges allows scientists and researchers to access the database online through a series of portals, which Nick Nystrom, director of strategic applications at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, said leads to a more fluid experience.

Study: PA's Rural Bridges Worst in the Country

Jul 14, 2014

Pittsburgh is known as “The City of Bridges,” but a recent study by national transportation research group TRIP suggests that there are other areas in the state whose bridges could use a little more attention.

The study, published Thursday, found that the condition of Pennsylvania’s rural bridges was the worst in the country. Pennsylvania’s country roads scored slightly better, at the 20th worst among the 50 states. The fatality statistics were grim—Pennsylvania has the 10th highest death rate on its country roads of any state.

PennDOT is reconsidering the weight restrictions placed on structurally deficient bridges in August.

The restrictions came as a result of the Legislature’s failure to approve additional transportation funding over the summer.

But with a funding plan now in place for road and bridge work, PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt says the department can start re-evaluating bridge postings.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly has just four voting days left this year, and they still have not passed a transportation funding bill. A Senate bill that would fund roads, bridges and public transit has been languishing since it was passed in June.

Now, a local nonprofit is trying to turn up the heat on key legislators by calling the constituents in their districts.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is sometimes known as the city of bridges, but without additional funding, bridges in disrepair are likely to be weight-restricted and mass-transit systems will have to scale back projects.

This month, legislative leaders are reportedly continuing discussions about transportation funding in the commonwealth and hope to map out a proposal that could be voted on by mid-November.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

City of Bridges: The following report is the last is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

City of Bridges: The following report is the second is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

Hundreds of bridges in Allegheny County alone are overdue for repairs or upgrades, and whatever happens in the final weeks of the legislative session, it’s unlikely lawmakers will approve funding for all of them.

joseph a / Flickr

    

City of Bridges: The following report is the first is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

The Pittsburgh area is home to hundreds of bridges — by some counts, more than any city in the world.

It also has a higher percentage of structurally deficient bridges than any other U.S. city. If your goal is to highlight the problem, one in particular makes a pretty good backdrop.

Thiopene / 90.5 WESA

After the House failed to pass a plan to pay for roads, bridges and mass transit last June, there is renewed speculation about another possible vote on a transportation funding proposal.

Renewed interest in lobbying efforts stems from the imposed weight limits on over 1,000 bridges in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has 5,543 structurally deficient bridges; 86 percent are owned by the state.

Now U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has unveiled a bipartisan proposal to increase funding by 10 percent for “off-system” bridges — bridges that are owned by a county or municipality and are not part of the federal highway system.

Casey said all bridges in the commonwealth average 54 years old, and only 10 percent of them receive federal funds.

saeru / flickr

Pittsburgh takes great pride in being known as “the city of bridges” but what most Pittsburghers do not know is that Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of bridges classified as “structurally deficient.”

Bridges are inspected at least once every two years in Pennsylvania and as the bridges are inspected they are given a rating from zero to nine. A bridge with a rating of five or higher is considered ok and a bridge with a score of four or lower is deemed structurally deficient.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Labor leaders and organizations that represent businesses gathered Thursday under Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge, which has been weight restricted. The group is calling on the state House to pass a transportation funding plan already passed in the Senate. The consequences of doing nothing, said the group, would be disastrous for the city and the region.

In all, 46 state-owned bridges in PennDOT District 11 (Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence Counties) will be posted with new or lowered weight restricted in the coming weeks. The move is meant to slow deterioration on the bridges as funding for major repairs remains uncertain. About 1,000 bridges statewide are considered structurally deficient, according to PennDOT.

Flickr user a440

The Senate is expected to vote this week on a budget bill that could rehabilitate aging bridges across Pennsylvania and around the country.

Pennsylvania leads the nation with 5,543 structurally deficient bridges, 86 percent of which are state-owned.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) says the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill contains several provisions to directly address bridge repairs and broader transportation priorities that are vital to the commonwealth.