New limits set for deteriorating bridges

Drivers of tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks soon could be looking for detours around some bridges in the region.

The state Department of Transportation has started posting new or lowered weight limits on troubled bridges in a move officials have said is aimed at slowing deterioration of the deficient structures.

PennDOT officials released more information Thursday about the state-owned bridges that will be affected, including four in Centre County and 35 in District 2, which also includes Clearfield, Clinton and Mifflin counties.

The weight limit on one of those bridges will be reduced to 30 tons or 34 for a combination load. That’s enough weight to support school buses, garbage and plow trucks and most fire trucks, according to PennDOT.

But other vehicles will be out of luck. An average loaded tractor-trailer, for instance, weighs about 40 tons.

Here is how four state-owned bridges in Centre County will be posted:

•  Route 26 over Lick Run, about a half-mile southeast of Howard, 36 tons or 40 tons for combination loads.

•  Route 45 over Pine Creek, just west of Woodward in Haines Township, 33 tons or 40 tons for combination loads.

•  Route 1002 over Little Marsh Creek near Yarnell, tentative posting of 32 tons or 40 tons for combination loads.

•  Route 3021 over Williams Run, about three miles north of Martha Furnace, tentative posting of 30 tons or 34 tons for combination loads.

Those bridges are among 1,000 in Pennsylvania that officials said earlier this month will see weight limit restrictions.

Five privately owned bridges in the county are also on that list:

•  Wallace Run Road over Wallace Run

•  Lower Coleville Road over Buffalo Run

•  Hoy Road over Little Fishing Creek

•  Rodgers Road over Roaring Run

•  Shady Dell Road over Laurel Run

PennDOT officials said in a statement that Secretary Barry Schoch authorized the restrictions “because of legislative inaction this past June on transportation funding, leaving the department’s future resources in question.”

“Reducing the weight traveling on these bridges will slow down their deterioration and preserve safety while funding for their repairs remains uncertain,” the officials wrote in the statement.

The move came after proposals to fund road improvements by raising the state oil company franchise tax stalled this summer in the General Assembly.