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Brewster Introduces Bridge Safety, Transparency Legislation

Harrisburg – March 10, 2023 – State Sen. Jim Brewster has introduced legislation that will require the state to provide the public with easier access to expanded information on the condition of state, county, and local bridges as well as any scheduled repairs or maintenance.

“The general public has a right to know everything about the bridges they are crossing, not just for their safety, but also for their ability to assess the performance of state agencies and public officials,” Brewster said. “Modern communications technology should be able to deliver on the promise of transparency.”

Brewster’s bill, Senate Bill 147, would require the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to ensure that their database is accurate, current, and publicly accessible for all bridges in the commonwealth that are built or maintained with public funds. The database will provide searchable information organized by county, municipality, and PennDOT maintenance district about the number of bridges located in each community, the last inspection date, and the rating of the last inspection. Any bridge rated “poor” would require a proposed schedule regarding reconstruction, maintenance or repair and estimate of the costs.

The bill also requires the Auditor General to inspect the records relating to each bridge and determine whether inspections are being done on time and by qualified inspectors.

“The more people who access the database and review the information the more likely we are to find lapses and oversights before any catastrophic bridge failures occur,” Brewster said.

The bill has been referred to the Transportation Committee for review.