Report: Pa. has second-highest number of bridges in need of repairs

Mark Abrams
April 08, 2019 - 5:00 am
Bridge repairs

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for investment in transportation projects cited Pennsylvania as having the second-highest number of bridges in the country that are in need of repairs — some more than others.

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association's 2019 deficient bridge report based its assessment on an analysis of data the group gathered from the Federal Highway Administration.

"Right now, we have about 2,800 state bridges that are eight feet or longer that are listed in poor condition," said Brad Rudolph, spokesman for PennDOT's Philadelphia district office. "That's down from about 6,000 in 2008. So we've made significant strides."

Across the commonwealth, 3,770 are classified as structurally deficient, according to the report. The state has identified needed repairs — not just on ones that are classified as deficient — for more than 11,700 bridges, at an estimated cost of $12.7 billion.

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Rudolph said gas tax revenues are giving PennDOT the resources to make bridges a high priority for repairs. But he said the listing of poor bridges is not a static process.

"While we're taking structures off as fast as we can, new ones are going on," Rudolph added.

The report also found the majority of the most-traveled structurally deficient bridges lie in Philadelphia County, including I-95 over Fraley, Comly, Venango, and Shackamaxon streets, and over Wheatsheaf Lane, ranging from the Kensington area up to Wissinoming.

Rudolph said PennDOT has an aggressive bridge inspection program, and engineers won't hesitate to put weight restrictions on certain bridges or even close others until repairs can be made.