New transportation bill doesn't spell end to bridge weight limits
Pennsylvania's weight-restricted bridges won't get an immediate reprieve despite the passage of a $2.3 billion transportation bill, PennDOT officials said this week.
Weight restrictions are likely to remain on more than 1,000 bridges as PennDOT officials prioritize which bridges and roads will be fixed first.
“We're going to create a prioritized program from a needs-based perspective. We want to have a big bump in projects next construction season with a good mix of resurfacing and bridge projects,” said PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna, who oversees Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties. “With the bridges, nothing changes there. It's not like we're going to jump and do those first. It will be a consideration. It doesn't mean they would need to jump to the top of the list.”
Cessna said it's likely weight restrictions will remain until the bridges are fixed.
While the fix-it list isn't finalized, Cessna said some projects are ready to go. Among the first to be fixed locally will be the Birmingham Bridge, connecting the South Side to Uptown, Route 60 in Moon from I-79 to I-376, and work on I-376 in Lawrence County.
Repairs on the Birmingham Bridge that had been on hold awaiting funding will proceed — as early as spring — as a result of the transportation bill, Cessna said.
The law would spend $1.65 billion per year for highways and bridges, and as much as $497 million for mass transit. It relies primarily on increasing wholesale gas taxes that supporters said would be passed on to consumers at a cost of about a nickel per gallon during five years. It would increase vehicle registration and driver's license fees.
Jim Runk, president of the motor truck association which supported the law, said many of his members are eager to have bridges fixed so weight restrictions can be lifted.
“I have a number of members with bridges right outside their location (that are weight restricted). To them, that's a big deal because they have to go 20 miles or more out of their way,” Runk said.
PennDOT has listed thousands of projects across the state on their website that could be funded through the new law during the next 10 years. That's good news to Rich Barcaskey, executive director of the Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania. Contractors that are part of his association depend on PennDOT for about 80 percent of their work, he said.
“There were some members saying they might have to lay off up to 40 percent of their workforce if this bill didn't pass. The first time the bill failed in the House, one guy told me he set in motion the process to sell his concrete paver,” Barcaskey said. “Now they'll be hiring. That's an important component that people have missed with this funding and where it's going. There's going to be jobs.”
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 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.
- Road crews are dealing with oil and sealant spills on roadways
- Canon-McMillan drops U.S. Postal Service from condemnation action
- Roads to close on Pittsburgh’s North Side this weekend
- Lawsuit claims Plum School District ignored racially-motivated assaults against black students
- Lawmaker Doyle seeks EPA leniency for Alcosan plan
- Authorities identify McKeesport man whose body was found in Yough River
- Newsmaker: Bob Herbert
- Pittsburgh offers Enright Parklet as bargaining chip in East Liberty development talks
- Witness tells jury about fatal McKeesport shooting
- Western Pennsylvania food distributor wins federal grant
- $20M bond issue could cost cash-strapped Penn Hills School District $6.6M in interest