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PennDOT To Lower Weight Limits on 1,000 Bridges Statewide

(A Penndot worker in Harrisburg makes signs indicating bridge speed restrictions.  Credit: Tony Romeo)

(A Penndot worker in Harrisburg makes signs indicating bridge speed restrictions. Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s transportation secretary says due to legislative inaction on funding, about a thousand bridges -– dozens of them in Southeastern Pennsylvania -– will have first-time or additional weight restrictions placed on them.

Penndot secretary Barry Schoch emphasizes this move does not mean the bridges are unsafe.   Rather, he says, given the uncertain funding situation, it is designed to extend the life of the bridges.

He says bigger vehicles such as trucks and buses will be directly affected — not passenger vehicles.

But, he adds, “what they will see in certain areas is increased congestion because of trucks changing routes.  The other thing you’re going to see is, for all of us…   You’ve all heard me talk about the cost of doing nothing. There’s a cost here. And the cost is going to be for all the products that are shipped by any vehicle, or school bus children that are moved by bus, that have to go on a longer route.”

Pennsylvania currently leads the nation in the number of bridges classified as “structurally deficient,” but will rank only 27th in the percentage of those bridges that are restricted or closed.

To see a list of the bridges affected by the latest restrictions, go to the Penndot web site, www.dot.state.pa.us.