ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — From copper gutters to brass grave markers, thieves have been targeting metals for quick resale at scrap yards and some are going for big ticket items at road construction sites all over the country.

“We had that situation up in Lawrence County a month ago where someone stole a bridge,” PennDOT’s Jim Struzzi said.

It was literally “highway robbery” at the Boston Bridge work site in Elizabeth Township on Route 48 late last week.

Steel components worth $10,000 and necessary to complete the PA barriers on one side of the bridge were stolen from a contractor’s staging area.

“Anchor plates, bolts – things like that needed to connect the railing to the concrete portion of the barrier,” Struzzi said.

New parts have been ordered but they must be custom-made.

“Barriers were custom designed for each bridge obviously because they’re unique,” he said.

Built in 1931, the more than 1,000-foot span over the Youghiogheny River, railroad tracks and two roadways – is the focus of a $17-million makeover. About 17,000 vehicles cross the bridge on an average day.

“People were so anxious for us to be done working on the Boston Bridge – and now it’s not going to happen.”

The temporary barrier will have to stay put until replacement parts come in and that means congestion for an additional three to four weeks.

If you know anything about who might have taken the material, please call Elizabeth Township Police.

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