Observer-Reporter: Road map for long-term transportation projects to focus on local bridges

The road map for transportation projects over the next few years will focus on local bridges, according to a proposed long-term infrastructure plan.

While state and county-owned bridges have been getting a lot of attention in recent years, officials with the state Department of Transportation and Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission said they’re now moving forward with upgrades to lesser-traveled municipal-owned spans in the region.

PennDOT and SPC officials held a public meeting at Courthouse Square in Washington on Tuesday in which they unveiled the upcoming Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, which offers a road map for future projects and how they will be funded. The four-year plans are adjusted every two years, and the SPC is now preparing to put the finishing touches on its 2025-28 plan with the expectation that its board will approve it in June.

“It’s a work in progress at the moment,” said Domenic D’Andrea, who is the SPC’s director of transportation and planning. “It’s a living, breathing document.”

But it also offers a set of priorities moving forward. In the upcoming TIP under consideration, locally owned bridges will be a focus of the infrastructure upgrades. That’s because while about 10% of state-maintained bridges are considered to be in poor condition, the number of local bridges that are rated poor is around 25%, according to D’Andrea.

Out of the $1.9 billion for major road projects in the region through the 2023 TIP, about 43% of it is earmarked for bridges.

“You’re going to see a lot of bridge preservation projects … and bigger projects,” said Angela Swallop Saunders, who is PennDOT District 12’s transportation planning manager. “We’re making a rather large investment in bridges.”

In addition to helping preserve municipal-owned bridges, she said PennDOT will also educate local leaders on how to maintain them so they can continue to be used for years to come, she said.

For more information on the next four-year TIP plan or to offer feedback about the plans, go to SPC’s website at and click on the “Get Involved!” tab.

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