HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania highway officials today announced new weight restrictions or reductions in the amount of weight allowed on some 1,000 bridges, a decision prompted by safety and preservation concerns.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announcement came less than two months after proposals to increase taxes and fees to improve highway, bridge and mass transit infrastructure stalled in the Legislature.
The decision applies to 530 state-owned bridges and about 470 locally owned bridges.
“We're trying to extend the life of these bridges. They're not unsafe,” Secretary Barry J. Shoch said at a news conference in the warehouse-sized PennDOT sign shop on the outskirts of Harrisburg, where workers were removing stencils from freshly painted signs.
Pennsylvania has nearly 4,500 structurally deficient bridges, more than any other state.
The weight limits will remain in place for some time, even if new funding gets approved this fall, Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch said. The new weight limits will begin to be posted next week, a process that will take four to five months.
Lists and maps of the affected bridges are posted on the PennDOT website — http://www.dot.state.pa.us/ — and can be accessed by clicking on “Bridge Information.”