Thursday, December 29, 2005

Penn DOT's bridge is falling down

Penn DOT knew an overpass spanning Interstate 70 that recently collapsed was structurally deficient, according to the Tribune-Review.

From the Trib:
The overpass was "structurally deficient," and inspectors in March 2004 reported the span was crumbling, said Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Gary Hoffman.

Pennsylvania's bridges are in notoriously poor condition. A quarter of all of the state's bridges are rated as "structurally deficient." The national average is 13 percent.

Fixing all state's bridges would cost an estimated $7 billion. Pennsylvania can hardly afford to maintain its crumbling infrastructure, but the state continues to build new roads to the provinces. Like college students with credit cards, lawmakers have used future turnpike toll revenues to underwrite new highway construction.

The Mon Fayette Expressway - a highway that will finally link Pittsburgh to Morgantown and Fayette County (those economic engines!) - will cost an estimated $4 billion (2004). The corresponding debt service could exceed $3 billion, according to an analysis by Friends of the Earth, an environmental group that partnered with several taxpayer advocacy organizations to expose some of the most worthless road projects in the United States.

And to add insult to near-injury...
PennDOT would not provide the results of inspections conducted in March 2004 and in August because the information is not considered a matter of public record, said PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick.

Suck a fat one, Kirkpatrick.

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