According to Joe Dubovi, district executive of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s District 10, as of the end of 2012 there were 133 state-owned structurally deficient bridges in Indiana County. That’s nearly one-third of the total 427 state-owned bridges in the county.
When bridges are inspected, they receive a score between zero and eight in each of three categories — its deck, its superstructure and its abutments and piers.
The higher the number, the better condition the bridge is in, Dubovi said.
When any of the three scores drops to four or lower, the bridge is classified as structurally deficient. That could cause the bridge’s weight limit to be lowered. Three tons is about the lowest weight limit PennDOT uses, according to Dubovi.
With a 3-ton limit, the bridge is safe basically only for passenger cars. It may not even be safe for an ambulance, he said.
Dubovi also said the number of structurally deficient bridges in the county had been falling, but now with less money available for maintenance and with the costs of repairs rising, the number of structurally deficient bridges in the county is expected to start climbing again.