HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Houtzdale, Monday said 217 state- and locally-owned bridges in Clearfield County have been rated structurally deficient, functionally obsolete or both.
“No one is suggesting these bridges are unsafe or pose immediate dangers,” George said. ”However, when more than 45 percent of the 459 bridges in the county are cited for shortcomings by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation it underscores the urgent need for infrastructure improvements.”
George said the bridge sufficiency/condition ratings available on the PennDOT Web site should not alarm but alert citizens to the need to upgrade Clearfield County’s bridges.
“The Interstate 35 bridge that collapsed Aug. 1 in Minneapolis, killing 13 people, received a 50 bridge sufficiency rating on a scale of 100 for entirely sufficient to 0 for entirely insufficient,” George noted. “Sixty-three PennDOT-maintained bridges over state routes in Clearfield County and 38 local-government-owned spans in the county received sufficiency ratings of 49 or below.”
Among the lowest-rated, state maintained bridges in the county are:
? The Maplepole Run bridge along state Route 53 near Madera. Built in 1928, the 19-foot span received a sufficiency rating of 14.1, based on the structures adequacy and safety (55 percent weighting), serviceability based on ability to meet current conditions (30 percent weighting), and how essential for public use (15 percent). The span is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete and its deck and superstructure are seriously deteriorated.
? The Tyler Run/Hollywood bridge along state Route 255 in Huston Township. Built in 1930, the 12-foot bridge is rated 7.1, is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete and its deck and superstructure are seriously deteriorated. PennDOT has begun work on the span.
? The Bells Landing bridge carrying state Route 3005 over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River near Mahaffey. Built in 1892, the 197-foot span is rated 1, considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, is posted with weight limits and its superstructure and substructure are seriously deteriorated.
? The township Route 421 bridge over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Greenwood Township. Built in 1920, the 180-foot bridge is rated 19, considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, is posted with weight limits and its deck is seriously deteriorated and its superstructure is showing advanced deterioration.
? The township Route 315 bridge over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Burnside Township. Built in 1949, the 156-foot bridge is rated 21, considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, is posted with weight limits and its superstructure and substructure are seriously deteriorated.
George said that despite record investments since 2003, Pennsylvania has the largest number of structurally deficient bridges in the nation — nearly 6,000 statewide — and Clearfield County has one of the highest percentages of deficient bridges statewide.
“Everybody wants safe, efficient bridges but funding their repairs or replacements has neither been timely nor adequate,” George said. “Any PennDOT, municipal or county official can confirm how daunting it can be to keep ahead of the curve and maintain outdated structures with limited funds.”