With Pennsylvania #1 in the country for structurally deficient bridges, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), joined by business leaders and transportation advocates, pushed for additional funds for bridge repair in an upcoming long term transportation bill. At Scranton’s Elm Street Bridge, which was built in 1958 and is structurally deficient, Casey released a new letter calling on Congress to dedicate more funds to bridge repair when it debates a long term transportation bill in the coming weeks. In Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties alone there are 334 structurally deficient bridges. During 2012 an effort by Senator Casey resulted in $74m for so called ‘off-system’ bridges owned by counties and municipalities in FY 2013.
“Investing in bridge repair will improve the safety of our region’s transportation system and boost our economy,” Senator Casey said. “Pennsylvania should not lead the nation in structurally deficient bridges. This is a problem that can be fixed if Democrats and Republicans come together around a commonsense approach to invest in our nation’s aging bridges.”
The Federal Highway Administration has established definitions for Structurally Deficient bridges. A highway bridge is classified as structurally deficient if the deck, superstructure, substructure, or culvert is rated in “poor” condition (0 to 4 on the NBI rating scale). A bridge can also be classified as structurally deficient if its load carrying capacity is significantly below current design standards or if a waterway below frequently overtops the bridge during floods. Often speed and weight limits are placed on these structures to ensure safe use. County by county information on structurally deficient bridges in Pennsylvania are attached.
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Dear Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Vitter:
As you prepare the next surface transportation reauthorization bill, I want to take this opportunity to urge you to provide resources to fix our Nation’s bridges. I applaud your commitment to investing in our Nation’s infrastructure and to creating and sustaining jobs. We need to build on the progress we made under MAP-21 and continue to invest in our Nation’s transportation system.
The Federal Highway Administration recently released data that highlights the challenges Pennsylvania faces in repairing its bridges. Specifically, the data indicates Pennsylvania ranks first in the country in the number of structurally deficient bridges, with a total of 5,218. The data also shows that nearly a quarter of all bridges in Pennsylvania are classified as structurally deficient. Every day, nearly 17 million Pennsylvanians make trips over bridges with structural issues. I urge you to consider these issues as you work on the next transportation reauthorization bill. Passing a strong transportation reauthorization bill with resources for bridges is vital to the Commonwealth’s economy and to my constituent’s safety.
I look forward to working with you on a long term reauthorization bill.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator
~ News Release via Robert P. Casey, Jr. , U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania ~