In advance of a press conference set for this afternoon in Scranton, U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, D-Scranton, released a county by county list of bridges deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete throughout Pennsylvania, and while Luzerne County isn’t the worst of the bunch, it’s deep in the bottom half.
The list shows Luzerne County has 441 bridges, with 121 of them structurally deficient and another 75 functionally obsolete. Combined, that means 44 percent of all bridges are sub par.
Statewide, that means the county is 21st in the percentage of bad bridges. The three worst counties are Philadelphia with 59 percent, Bucks with 56 percent, and Allegheny with 55 percent.
Locally, Lackawanna has 138 of 352 bridges deemed deficient or obsolete, or 39 percent, while Wyoming County had 38 percent. Statewide, 23 percent of 22,659 bridges are structurally deficient and another 19 percent are functionally obsolete
According to Casey’s office, the Federal Highway Administration definitions of structurally deficient and functionally obsolete are:
Structurally Deficient — A highway bridge is classified as structurally deficient if the deck, superstructure, substructure, or culvert is rated in “poor” condition (0 to 4 on the NBI rating scale). A bridge can also be classified as structurally deficient if its load carrying capacity is significantly below current design standards or if a waterway below frequently overtops the bridge during floods. Often speed and weight limits are placed on these structures to ensure safe use.
Functionally Obsolete — Highway bridges classified as functionally obsolete are NOT structurally deficient, but their design is outdated. They may have lower load carrying capacity, narrower shoulders or less clearance underneath than bridges built to the current standard. These are bridges that are no longer suitable for their current use.
The full list, in PDF form, accompanies this article