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Trade group reports on bridge conditions; says pandemic could affect repair funding

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The American Road & Transportation Builders Association, in its new report on the condition of the nation’s bridges, said Pennsylvania, which led the country in faulty bridges six years ago, has dropped to fifth in terms of the percentage of deficient bridges.
 
According to the report compiled by the national trade association for the highway construction industry, of the 1,450 bridges in the first Congressional District of Pennsylvania, which includes Bucks County and parts of Montgomery County, 267, or 18.4 percent, are classified as structurally deficient.
This means one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition. This is down from 356 bridges classified as structurally deficient in 2015.
 
The report said 175 bridges are posted for load, which may restrict the size and weight of vehicles crossing the structure.
 
It also said repairs are needed on 838 bridges in the district, which will cost an estimated $1.2 billion. This compares to 775 bridges that needed work in 2015.
 
Of the 22,911 bridges in the Commonwealth, 3,501, or 15.3 percent, are classified as structurally deficient, down from 4,701 in 2015.
 
The state has identified needed repairs on 11,882 bridges at an estimated cost of $17.2 billion. This compares to 13,091 bridges that needed work in 2015.
 
“Pennsylvania has made significant progress in reducing the number of faulty bridges, thanks to the enactment of the transportation funding measure in 2013,” said Robert Latham, executive vice president of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors.
 
“At the same time, we are facing a new funding challenge as improving fuel efficiency is decreasing fuel tax revenue, inflation is increasing the cost of labor and materials and transportation funds are continuing to be diverted for non-transportation purposes.
 
“More recently, the response to the coronavirus pandemic is further reducing fuel tax revenues. We don’t yet know how much transportation revenue will be lost by the time people are permitted to travel more freely. Restoring our highway system is an important component for economic growth and our future quality of life, and we strongly urge policymakers to address this issue sooner rather than later.”
 
APC is a trade association consisting of more than 400 members that includes contractors, consulting engineers, material suppliers, manufacturers, and others with an interest in Pennsylvania’s road and bridge construction industry.
 
For information about the report, visit artbabridgereport.org.


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