The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will invest $175 million next year to repair bridges in District 11 which includes Allegheny, Beaver, and Lawrence counties. Last year $91.9 million was used to replace, rehabilitate, and preserve 87 area bridges. District 11 spokesman Jim Struzzi says PennDOT will focus on repairing and preserving at least 70 bridges in 2009. He says the increase in money reflects a change in philosophy about bridge maintenance. Proper bridge upkeep can extend the life of a bridge for 20 to 30 years. It is also cheaper than bridge replacement and affects traffic minimally.
PennDOT has also decided to extend the last phase of the Parkway East/I-376 rehabilitation project another two years to 2010. That work will be done on the stretch of highway between Churchill and the Pennsylvania turnpike. Struzzi says by spreading the work over two years, the impact on traffic will be much less. Next year, all work will be done on the inbound lanes and will flip to outbound in 2010. Most construction will occur on weekends and off-peak hours, and during the project, the contractor will be required to maintain two lanes of traffic.