PennDOT’s Online Map Shows Condition Of Area Bridges
About a quarter of the 668 state and locally owned bridges in Luzerne County are in poor condition, according to a new online tool from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
But state-owned and locally owned bridges across Pennsylvania are in better shape overall than they were three years ago, said Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards in a press release announcing the new tool.
The new “Bridge Conditions” map on PennDOT’s transportation projects website lets people easily see information on bridges around the state.
In Luzerne County, the numbers are:
• State bridges in good condition: 170
• State bridges in fair condition: 277
• State bridges in poor condition: 117
• Local bridges in good condition: 29
• Local bridges in fair condition: 38
• Local bridges in poor condition: 37
With a total of 668 bridges counted by PennDOT, that means about 30 percent are in good condition, 47 percent are in fair condition and 23 percent are in poor condition.
The designation of good, fair or poor comes from an inspection of the primary components of the bridge. Engineers rate parts of a bridge for structural soundness and ability to serve the traveling public. The overall condition rating comes from the lowest rating for any of the different components.
A poor rating, which was previously called “structurally deficient,” means the bridge has deterioration to one or more of its major components, which earns a rating of four or lower. A fair rating is a score of five or six, and a good rating is at least seven for each of the primary components. The highest possible score for each component is nine.
Pennsylvania has the third-largest number of state-owned bridges in the nation and the average age of those bridges is more than 50 years old, according to PennDOT.
“PennDOT is making significant progress on this challenge and we want people to see that while also making it easier to view the conditions of bridges near them,” agency spokesman Mike Taluto wrote in an email.
Across the state, the condition of bridges has improved during the past three years. More are in good condition and fewer are in poor condition compared to January 2015.
PennDOT’s Municipal Liquid Fuels program helps pay for bridge repair.
The state’s Road Maintenance and Preservation program is another source of funding, and one the county will be able to tap into because Luzerne County Council passed a $5 vehicle registration fee in May.
Under the program, PennDOT will offer a dollar-for-dollar match of dedicated to bridge repair, though that match is only guaranteed for one year. The initial grant could send up to $2 million to the county. Any remaining funds are made available again to participating counties, and any money left after that would be used for other local bridge projects.
“Our roadways receive a lot of attention, but the safety of our bridges is also crucial to keeping goods and people moving in our communities,” Richards said in the press release. “We have many, very old bridges and we are doing everything we can to replace bridges when needed, while maintaining and preserving others to extend their useful life.”
Contact the writer:
ON THE WEB
Visit www.projects.penndot.gov and click the “Bridge Conditions” link to learn more.