PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Soon you will see more weight restriction signs on local roads.

Starting as early as next week, PennDOT will post lower weight limits on more than 200 bridges in our region.

“We need to slow down the rate of deterioration of some of these bridges,” said PennDOT secretary Barry Schoch. “Our focus is on the structurally deficient bridges because they are the ones at the greatest risk.”

One of those bridges at risk, that will have a new lower weight restriction, is the Liberty Bridge downtown.

The limit will be reduced from 40 to 32 tons.

That means a lot of dump trucks and loaded tractor trailers will be forced to find new routes.

Other bridges in our area that will be impacted include: the Elizabeth Bridge over the Mon River and the Koppel Bridge in Beaver County.

If you’re wondering why PennDOT doesn’t just repair the structures, rather than restrict them, it all comes down to money.

Recently, a transportation bill that would have supported much needed bridge work was stalled in the state legislature.

“We’ll try to strengthen them,” Schoch said. “We’ll try to rehabilitate them, but at some point they age, there is nothing we can do to prevent them from becoming structurally deficient without resource.”

Officials say if funding doesn’t come soon, the situation will only get much worse.

They say more and more vehicles, like school buses, trucks and even ambulances may eventually have to go farther out of the way.

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


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