Philadelphia bridges in need of improvement, report says
According to a recent report by Transportation for America, about 20 percent of bridges in the Philadelphia area deficient and in need of improvement. That makes Philadelphia third in line for American cities with deficient bridges. The study noted that deficient, however, doesn’t necessarily mean unsafe, but simply that they need improvement as there has been deterioration of one or more of its major components.
In addition to the Transportation for America findings, PennDOT has flagged many local areas for bridge replacement or renovations. PennDOT spokesman Eugene Blaum said the state of Pennsylvania is aware of its deficient bridges and is constantly working on making improvements. Blaum also said that expenditures on bridge construction has more than tripled since 2002, as has the number of bridges that have been built or rebuilt.
The Transportation for America study found that Pennsylvania was the worst among the states in terms of deficient bridges, having six metropolitan areas with a high percentage of deficient bridges. Worst among them is Pittsburgh, with 30 percent of its area bridges receiving a deficient rating. As a whole, 26.5 percent of bridges in Pennsylvania were rated as deficient.
The study noted that the numbers actually would have been worse had it not been for Pennsylvania’s intense efforts over the last several years to repair its bridges. State funding for that purpose has reportedly been quadrupled to implement the effort.
At present, there are roughly 80 bridges in the five-county Philadelphia area which are under construction. Statewide there are 5,000 bridges considered structurally deficient, 42 which are closed, and 669 which are weight restricted.
Interestingly, the Transportation for America study noted that the number of people served everyday by bridges nationwide, around 210 million, far surpasses the number of people served by fast food restaurants daily.
Source: Patch, “Philly Area Bridges Third Worst in Nation,” Sam Fran Scavuzzo, October 26, 2011.