By Matt Rivers

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation funding are set to flood the greater Philadelphia area, after Thursday’s passage of a $2.3 billion transportation funding bill in Harrisburg.

The bill, set to be signed by Governor Corbett next week, aims to improve Pennsylvania’s beleaguered and aging transportation infrastructure.  Improvements to existing roads, structurally deficient bridges, and mass transit systems are among the categories the bill will help fund.

“We have been underfunded for decades now so we are excited to be able to bring safe infrastructure to the greater Philadelphia area,” said Gene Blaum, of PennDOT.

Among the most dangerous issues facing our area are the 430 bridges deemed structurally deficient.  The new funding will provide additional funding to either repair or totally replace some of those bridges.

One of the larger projects will be the replacement of seven bridges that stretch across the Vine Street Expressway.  The project will cost over $100 million dollars, all of it covered by the new funding.

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The suburbs will also see their fair of construction.  A notoriously crowded bridge at the intersection of Route 23 and Route 422 will be replaced.

The bridge that spans across the Schuylkill River along route 422 will also be replaced.

A timeframe for the majority of these projects has not yet been announced, but they are sure to bring more construction projects to an area already clogged with construction work.

“It’s a pain but the only other option is for these roads and bridges to close,” said Rob Henry, of the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association, a non-profit group that aims to improve local transportation infrastructure.

Henry added that fixing these roads also improves safety, with resurfacing and pothole repairs reducing the risks of accidents.

Bridge repairs also improve weight restrictions, allowing larger trucks to pass over and fostering a more welcoming environment for big businesses that rely on highways to ship products.

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