By Ken Rice

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s the “day of reckoning” for bridges across Pennsylvania. New weight restrictions or reductions were announced Thursday.

PennDOT says the state’s infrastructure is only getting worse.

The Liberty Bridge is one of the busiest in our area, and it’s also one of the biggest that will soon get new, lower weight restrictions.

Starting as early as next week, the limit will be dropped from 40 tons to 32 tons, forcing many loaded tractor trailers, dump trucks and cement trucks to find another way.

But the Liberty Bridge is just the beginning.

Lower weight limits will be posted for more than 200 bridges in our area; 140 are owned by the state, and another 65 are locally owned.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says the focus right now is the structurally-deficient bridges. It’s a group that’s steadily growing.

“Every year, 300 bridges will age to a situation where they’ll become structurally deficient,” he said.

Keeping up will cost money, but less than two months ago a plan to raise taxes and fees to improve bridges and highways stalled in the state legislature.

“We’ll try to strengthen them. We’ll try to rehabilitate them, but at some point as they age there’s nothing we can do to prevent them from becoming structurally deficient without resources,” said Schoch. “It’s a force of nature. I can’t change that any more than I can change my speed on the basketball court.”

State lawmakers could approve new funding this fall, but PennDOT says that won’t avert the new weight limits. They’ll begin to be posted next week.

The process is expected to take four to five months.

Click the links below to find the full list of bridges getting new weight restrictions:

Gov. Corbett Fights For Funding To Fix Structurally-Deficient Bridges (6/7/13)
More PennDOT News

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