PennDOT aware of Mon-Yough bridge concerns
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 4:36 a.m.
PennDOT District 11 executive Dan Cessna said his agency is evaluating concerns about weight limit postings for bridges in Elizabeth, White Oak and other Mon-Yough communities.
“We do respect and understand the impact on the community,” Cessna said on Thursday, when PennDOT began posting the weight limits across the three-county District 11.
Cessna defended the decision PennDOT secretary Barry J. Schoch made last week.
“There is a cost to the public for doing nothing,” Cessna said. “That is what (Schoch) has warned since the spring. We are very understanding that this is creating negative impact for people.”
Among the postings is a 32-ton restriction, except for 40 in certain combinations, on the Elizabeth Bridge carrying Route 51 over Route 837 and the Monongahela River from West Elizabeth into Elizabeth.
Cessna, the state transportation department's top administrator for Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties, said PennDOT issues “a lot of special hauling permits” for carrying more than 40 tons.
Cessna agreed with borough officials who said on Tuesday the impact will be felt on a local highway in Elizabeth, “a 450-foot section of municipally owned (Market) Street.”
Market Street is part of an expected detour to send truckers off Route 51 in West Elizabeth via Route 837 to the Clairton-Glassport Bridge.
In Glassport, truckers would turn right onto Glassport-Elizabeth Road, also known as Lincoln Boulevard and McKeesport Road and N. Second Avenue going into Elizabeth, then left onto Market Street.
Cessna said the only other detour available is a 75-mile rerouting via Turnpike 43, the Mon/Fayette Expressway.
Cessna said state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, was right to say the reason for the new posting standards was not an imminent risk of a bridge collapse.
“By limiting the heavy loads that cross the bridge you automatically extend the life, so the bridge will ultimately last longer,” Cessna said.
PennDOT has no pressing concern about the Clairton-Glassport Bridge.
“That bridge was reconstructed not that long ago,” Cessna said. A $4 million project was completed last year.
A similar project is planned for the Elizabeth Bridge, but Cessna said it won't happen without sustainable funds.
“We have last year started designing a rehabilitation project for that bridge and we would be able to have those plans ready about one year from now,” Cessna said.
Such funding would not include one-time solutions such as a sale of state liquor stores, the District 11 executive said.
“We certainly support the governor's and Senate plans,” Cessna said. Both are omnibus plans covering roads, bridges, mass transit and other concerns that would be covered by increased fees and a lifting of the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax.
A commission named by Gov. Tom Corbett issued a plan that was a basis for Senate Bill 1, which failed to win approval in the House before the General Assembly went on summer recess.
Saccone said he opposes lifting the cap because it would raise the price of gasoline by 28 cents a gallon.
Saccone proposed paying for bridge rehabilitation with an opening of 300,000 acres of state forest land to natural gas drilling. He said it would bring in more than $1 billion immediately and then royalties for a restricted fund.
Saccone said he hoped to introduce his bill with co-sponsors as early as Friday.
Other bridge postings include a pair in White Oak, a 25-ton limit on Ripple Road and a 33-ton limit on a bridge carrying Lincoln Way over Long Run. Combinations could allow 31 tons on the Ripple Road bridge and 40 on the Lincoln Way span.
“I met with White Oak officials (on Wednesday during state Rep. Marc Gergely's annual tour),” Cessna said. “They are very concerned about those restrictions.”
Locally, restrictions are planned on state-maintained bridges in Lincoln, Jefferson Hills and Baldwin, and an Allegheny County-maintained bridge on Ravine Street in Munhall.
Cessna said local bridges were included in the state's list because ultimately PennDOT is responsible to the federal government for maintenance of all Pennsylvania bridges.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport woman charged with insurance fraud
- Agents remove dogs from unlicensed kennel
- Survivors recognized during West Mifflin Area ceremony
- Weather delays cleaning project
- Retirees, senior citizens anticipate annual holiday program
- Local crews ready for wintry mix
- White Oak man jailed for exposure, intimidation issues
- Speedway opening McKeesport store, plans to build 3 more
- East Allegheny adds ‘wish list’ items
- Elizabeth Township delays decision on cop turned school director
- Mon Valley to benefit from conservation grants