PennDOT says thousands of Pa. bridges are in poor condition

Written by on February 7, 2022

PennDOT says thousands of Pa. bridges are in poor condition

By Chloe Nouvelle
February 7, 2022

A runner on the damaged Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Bridge in Philadelphia in January 2021. The bridge had been closed to vehicular traffic due to structural damage. (Photo | PAcast)

Following the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh on Jan. 28, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) said it is making progress on state-owned bridges listed as being in poor condition.

But there are thousands on that list.

Listen to the story.

In a virtual press conference on Feb. 4, PennDOT Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula said in 2008, the state had more than 6,000 bridges listed in poor condition, which is the lowest rating. But today, that number is just over 2,400. 

“But because of the age of our bridge network and the size of our network, 250 just of our state-maintained bridges move into that poor category every year,” said Batula. 

However, Batula said just because a bridge is rated as being in poor condition doesn’t mean there’s something significantly wrong with it. 

“We do have a very rigorous process in place that we do evaluate those bridges to make sure they’re safe,” she said. 

Batula explained that generally bridges are inspected every two years, and those with weight restrictions are inspected annually. But she said if bridges are in poor condition, they may be inspected more frequently. 

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