PennDOT posts weight restrictions on 1,000 bridges

August 22, 2013

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch announced today that the department has posted weight restrictions on approximately 1,000 state and local bridges in order to minimize wear and tear on them in the absence of a bridge and highway funding plan. A listing of the bridges can be viewed by clicking on “Bridge Information” in the right-hand column at

In a statement released this morning, Secretary Schoch said, “Posting bridges with weight restrictions minimizes the wear and tear which will help keep the structures open and safer for a longer period of time. This will also allow us to continue to invest our limited resources into higher-priority bridges.

“Pennsylvania has the third-largest number of bridges in the nation, but the average bridge age is 51. We also lead the nation in the number of bridges classified as structurally deficient. To this point, Pennsylvania has been one of the most liberal with posting criteria compared to other states, all within national standards. For comparison, if we utilized Connecticut’s more-stringent criteria, more than 11,000 weight restrictions would exist in Pennsylvania. Also, Pennsylvania currently ranks 35th in the nation for the number of SD bridges that are posted or closed. As we move to this more conservative posting method we will rank 27th. 

“Safety is our number-one priority and if a bridge is found to be unsafe, it’s closed. If a bridge can only carry certain loads, it’s restricted or posted.

“For months I’ve been explaining to Pennsylvanians and to lawmakers that there are very real consequences to not enacting a transportation funding plan,” Schoch said in a press release. “Without additional revenues anticipated in the future, I have to make the safe and responsible decision to reduce how much weight is crossing these deteriorating bridges.”

PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said the restrictions were inevitable without a funding plan in place and are hardly a surprise, since PennDOT has been warning of the move for many months.

“While some elected officials are complaining that these bridges have been posted for political reasons, those in the industry recognize that the restrictions are based on sound engineering principles,” Wagner said. “The lack of a funding plan to begin to address what has now grown into a $4.5 billion annual funding gap has left little choice for an agency that is responsible for preserving the transportation infrastructure for as long as possible.”

PHIA remains hopeful that legislators will take up the funding issue again following the summer recess.


One Comment on this post.

  1. Douglas Omonskie
    August 23, 2013 at 12:37 am
  2. Well at least there is $$$ for new prisons.