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Pa. interstates are nation's 8th busiest

| Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, 10:41 p.m.

Pennsylvania's interstates are the eighth busiest in the nation but don't come close to the number of cars on California's highways, a federal study released Monday shows.

The Federal Highway Administration compared 2011 data collected from all 50 states and found that people traveled 84.7 billion miles on California's interstates that year. Texas was second, with 55.7 billion miles traveled; Florida was third, with 34.7 billion miles traveled.

Pennsylvania reported 23.7 billion miles traveled.

“It's not surprising. The Keystone name is very fitting. You have to travel through Pennsylvania to get anywhere in the Northeast,” said Steve Chizmar, PennDOT spokesman. “When you look at the miles traveled and where we are in funding, clearly more needs to be done.”

PennDOT is evaluating weight restrictions on bridges. Lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would have allocated additional money to fix deteriorating bridges and other infrastructure. Some lawmakers suggest PennDOT should pay for the fixes out of its existing $7 billion budget.

Within the state, the study shows the turnpike is the most heavily traveled road, with more than 4.3 billion miles traveled, followed by Interstate 81 with 3.6 billion miles and Interstate 80 with 3.3 billion.

Such studies “serve as a tool to target efforts to solve congestion issues, improve road design, address mobility challenges and increases educational efforts,” said Bevi Powell, AAA spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh region.

The data from the states came from electronic traffic counters on interstates.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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