WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) – Westmoreland County currently has nearly 150 bridges rated “poor” condition by PennDOT.
According to data from PennDOT, Westmoreland County has 735 bridges and 143 are rated in “poor” condition. Seventy-eight of these are state-owned bridges while 65 are locally owned.
“It is very worrying that they are in this state of disrepair. I saw where a lot of them were labeled “poor”. Sometimes I feel like we’re collateral damage. Until someone dies, they won’t do anything about it,” Westmoreland County resident Pam Wilson said.
For a bridge to be rated in “poor” condition, PennDOT said the deck, superstructure, substructure, or culvert have a poor rating. Selling is based on a scale of 0 to 9, with 0 being a failed bridge that is out of service and beyond corrective action.
In Rostraver Township, nine bridges are considered deteriorating and many are frequently crossed.
“You have to cross a bridge to get everywhere you go in the Mon Valley area,” said Amy Arison, a resident of Rostraver.
One of the Route 136 bridges over Pollock Run in Rostraver has a “3” rating, which is considered “serious” condition by PennDOT. According to PennDOT, the bridge was built in 1927 and nearly 3,000 people cross the bridge daily.
“I’ve always had this fear of crossing bridges, and now it’s even worse,” Arison said.
Residents told KDKA-TV on Friday that local and state officials should never have let the bridges take the shape they are in.
“I am often on the road. It is very upsetting for me. I’m crossing bridges now and just holding my breath. It shouldn’t be. We pay enough taxes and they have enough money to do something,” Wilson said.
A week after the Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh, the National Transportation Safety Board called what happened a “wake-up call.” Rostraver residents agree.
“We need to speak out as citizens of Pennsylvania to say, I know the weather is rough here and there’s a lot of corrosion with the bridges, but we’re not replaceable. I really hope something gets done,” Wilson said.
KDKA has contacted Rostraver Township Commissioners and Westmoreland County Commissioners to find out if anything is being done to improve the bridges. We have not yet received a response.
Click here for a complete list of bridges in the county with their respective ratings.