Pennsylvania is number one in the country, but in this case, not in a good way. The state has more than 5,000 structurally deficient bridges; more than any other state.
To see how Pennsylvania’s bridges rank among other states click here
People drive over these structurally deficient bridges, just in Pennsylvania, 17 million times on a typical day. “We cannot move commerce, we cannot grow the economy, without bridges that are structurally sound and structurally safe,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D) Pennsylvania.
Casey is pushing for additional funds for bridge repair in the upcoming Transportation Bill. “Fixing structurally deficient bridges in Harrisburg and throughout South Central Pennsylvania will increase safety and provide a boost to the economy,” Senator Casey said. “Congress has an opportunity in the upcoming transportation bill to make a significant commitment to bridge repair. This is an issue that Democrats and Republicans should come together on because it’s a commonsense step to improve infrastructure and create jobs.”
“On a report card scale it’s kind of like a D, it’s kind of like an alarm, we have to start really start doing something to these bridges, to repair them, and get them functionally up to speed,” said Harrisburg City Engineer Paul Francis, on the meaning of structurally deficient.
On Monday, Senator Casey, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse, and Engineer Paul Francis visited the 13th Street bridge, which is considered a structurally deficient bridge in Harrisburg. The bridge is deteriorating and there are no immediate plans to repair it.
The group advocated for Congress to give more money and focus on aging bridges, especially in areas like Harrisburg, that may not get state funding.
“We are focused on ‘off system bridges’ that are the bridges people travel over everyday, but are the ones that are maintained by counties and local communities,” said Senator Casey.
“Those bridges for the most part, in many cases, are over 100 years old, and are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete,” said Papenfuse.
Casey highlighted a recent letter calling on Congress to dedicate more funds to bridge repair when it debates a long-term transportation bill in the coming weeks. During 2012 an effort by Senator Casey resulted in $74m for ‘off-system’ bridges owned by counties and municipalities in FY 2013.
Below is the full text of letter: