The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission announced during last month’s Board Meeting that PENNDOT was reducing vehicle weight limits on at least 64 Bridges across the Lehigh Valley. 9 of these bridges are new postings and the remainder will be down graded or closed due to their condition and lack of funding to repair or replace them.Not all of these bridges are State owned. PENNDOT also lists many maintained by local Municipalities and will be informing them of what the new downgraded weights should be.
Many of the weight reductions will impact Semi-Trucks, Garbage Trucks, Emergency Vehicles, etc on All roads since new routes will need to be found in order to avoid those bridges.
Why, you may ask, are there so many bridges in such bad condition? Good Question. First, Congress has not approved Highway Funding since President Bush was in office. This means that no additional money has been sent to any State including Pennsylvania in years, and worst yet, it doesn’t look like any is coming anytime soon. Second, Pennsylvania itself doesn’t have the funding available to fix the 2,000 plus bridges that need repair on just the State owned roads. At last count, Billions of dollars are needed above what is now spent to get up to date on all the road work needed across the State. And local Governments are in the same boat.
Lower Milford however, according to the LVPC, is one of the few Municipalities in the Lehigh Valley who has an official schedule to do bridge inspections. Our Township started inspections in 2004 after the original Shultz Bridge had to be redecked in 2003. We have 11 Bridges/Culverts which currently receive inspections. Half are inspected every other year. If there is a major storm event like a hurricane, any bridge or culvert which may have been borderline for needing work, is inspected after the storm to insure your continued safety. Since the inspections began, unfortuately a bridge on Scout Road had to be weight downgraded and then closed due to years of neglect and storm damage. We do not want this to happen again in Lower Milford.
For additional Lehigh Valley Bridge information go to: www.lvpc.org
Click here to see an LVPC handout of Approximate Vehicle Weights in full color: truck weight illustration