18 bridges in Alle-Kiski Valley make state weight-restricted list
By Tom Yerace
Published: Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 1:11 a.m.
Local officials may not know for a while what, if any, effect the newly announced list of weight-restricted bridges will have on their communities.
A total of 13 state-owned and five locally owned bridges throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley are on PennDOT's list. Many had not previously been under weight restrictions.
One small, state-owned bridge whose restrictions could have a major impact on commerce is the one that carries Logans Ferry Road, which many people know as Coxcomb Hill Road, over Pucketa Creek at the border between Plum and Lower Burrell.
“In Plum, adjacent to that is RAM Terminals, which is a huge trucking outfit,” said Michael Thomas, borough manager. “I imagine that would be a huge inconvenience to the trucking industry, if they can't use that bridge.”
But that depends on how much of a weight restriction is placed on the bridge, which is a gateway for tractor-trailers making deliveries between the Lower Burrell-New Kensington area and, by way of Oakmont, the Allegheny Valley Expressway.
PennDOT hadn't listed the restrictions for all of the bridges by the end of the day Thursday.
Thomas said the Logans Ferry Road bridge can be a critical route for firefighters from the Logans Ferry Heights Fire Company in responding to fire calls in that part of the borough.
But he noted that, in the past, PennDOT worked with the borough and its fire departments to ensure emergency response would not be hindered for the Crystal Springs area of the borough when a bridge along Greensburg Road had to be replaced.
Plum has a second bridge on the list — the one that carries Leechburg Road over Plum Creek Road at the other end of the borough near the Penn Hills line.
Thomas said that bridge has old concrete and weathered metal, and he could understand the need for restrictions on it. But he doesn't think it would hamper traffic through Plum.
“It's on the very edge of the borough,” Thomas said. “I don't see that as a huge obstacle, but that doesn't mean that won't be an inconvenience to borough residents and businesses.”
Thomas said borough officials probably will wait and see what kinds of restrictions are coming.
“At that point, then we'll have to sit down and figure out how it affects us and how we respond to it,” he said.
Franklin “Bud” Shannon, the supervisors chairman for Parks Township, said he doesn't think the one newly restricted bridge will have much impact on residents.
In fact, he was surprised to learn that the bridge carrying River Road (Route 66) over Guffy Run had been restricted. PennDOT listed its weight restriction at 26 tons late Thursday.
“They just fixed that bridge,” he said. “I didn't hear anything about weight restrictions, but they did repair it.”
He said that PennDOT crews started working in May or June and they did work on the structure under the bridge deck. The bridge previously hadn't been posted for restrictions.
“The people that it is going to affect is the truckers,” Shannon said.
He noted that businesses in the industrial park along River Road, such as Coleman Trucking, might feel the impact.
“As far as weight limits, I don't know,” he said. “I don't know what they really haul in and out of there. Twenty-six tons, that's a pretty heavy load.
“I wouldn't like to see it cause problem for our industries and our trucking companies,” Shannon said.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or email@example.com.
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