New weight restrictions for state bridges will affect truck transit

By - Last modified: August 23, 2013 at 10:16 AM

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Photo courtesy of PennDOT: Red dots indicated bridges with weight restrictions in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy of PennDOT: Red dots indicated bridges with weight restrictions in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Transportation and trucking firms should take note.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has added or increased weight restrictions to about 1,000 structurally deficient bridges statewide.

A PennDOT spokeswoman said the restrictions will cause problems and delays, especially for larger vehicles such as buses or tractor trailers.

PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said the move was needed after the state Legislature failed to act on transportation funding in June.

He said reducing the weight allowed on the bridges will slow their deterioration and preserve safety until funding is available for repairs.

Schoch’s authorization applies weight restrictions to 530 state-owned and about 470 locally owned bridges.

Before then, Pennsylvania already had 567 state bridges and 1,685 local bridges posted with weight restrictions.

“In the past, we’ve been able to hold off on restricting bridges, but now we have to be more conservative,” Schoch said. “We have some of the oldest bridges in the nation, and many of them need major repairs.’’

The weight restrictions will vary from bridge to bridge, according to Erin Waters-Trasatt, spokeswoman for PennDOT.

“It’s solely based on the bridge construction reports and how many vehicles they carry each day,” she said.

Waters-Trasatt said that while safety was the department’s primary concern, care was taken to not overburden any single area with too many weight restrictions.

“They did screen out as much as possible where we knew there would be drastic impacts,” she said.

A list of restricted bridges can be found on the website

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/ by clicking on “Bridge Information.”

Schoch noted that even if the Legislature passes a transportation funding plan in the fall, the earliest the weight restrictions could be removed would be when their repairs can be programmed for funding within two years. If conditions warrant, the restrictions could remain in place until repairs are made.

Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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