HARRISBURG—A new report shows Pennsylvania has the worst conditioned bridges in the entire country. The state is leading the way in structurally deficient bridges and our area is one of the worst.
It comes as no surprise to anyone who drives in Central PA but this state and this area is leading the nation in most structurally deficient bridges. In fact, Pennsylvania has four out of the top 10 areas with the most structurally deficient bridges in the category of communities with a population of 500,000 to a million people. Two of the four of those communities sit in Central PA.
The recent report by an independent organization called Transportation for America shows Pennsylvania leads the nation in structurally deficient bridges. Even worse, 26.5 percent of Lancaster County's bridges fall under the same category. That is the second worst ranking in the nation, second only to Tulsa, Oklahoma for communities between 500,000 and a million people.
Rounding out the top 10 for that category include Scranton, Allentown and Harrisburg. Pittsburgh heads the list of most deficient bridges of communities with 2 million or more people. Philadelphia ranks third in that same category.
Experts say these bridges need help and quick.
"Just as people need more healthcare as they get older, bridges need more care as they get older too," said PennDot spokesperson, Dennis Buterbaugh.
There is a huge press on right now for the federal government to increase funding for road and bridge reconstruction. The President is pushing this in his American Jobs Act. He thinks the road repairs might also stimulate jobs in the economy. But the concern from many falls with the cost of these projects in these tough economic times.
The Auditor General, Jack Wagner said in a meeting Tuesday, "You will go over a structurally deficient bridge more frequently than you will see a McDonalds. Do you want your child in a school bus going over one of these bridges?"
He is pushing for the Governor to move quick on the Transport Funding bill that will see, what he said, is waste from other departments relocated to road repair.
The repair is going to cost some big bucks. Transportation for America estimates the cost to fix all of the 70,000 structurally deficient bridges nationwide will run over $70 billion dollars. If nothing is done, experts say drivers might start seeing more and more closed bridges and roads because they are no longer safe.