Updated:WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. —
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), 20 percent of the bridges in Pennsylvania are in bad shape, and officials said that is why they replaced several bridges in Washington County.
However, residents told Channel 11’s Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle that two bridges PennDOT repaired now lead to a dead end and are a waste of tax dollars.
Three years ago, PennDOT built two bridges on Meadowcroft Road in Washington County at a cost of $2.6 million tax dollars, but now, PennDOT has closed the road at the West Virginia border.
Earle discovered that the road on the other side in West Virginia -- a road residents living along Meadowcroft Road have been using for years -- is a private road and suddenly off limits.
Target 11 learned that West Virginia determined the road was not a public road about a decade ago, but no one else knew until the owner recently asked the state to fix it. However, the state told the owner it was his responsibility.
“I represented this area for seven years now, and we never received that information,” said Democratic Pennsylvania state Rep. Jesse White.
Regardless, PennDOT told Target 11 that the bridges were in such bad shape that they would have replaced them even if they had known the road would be closing.
“We had those same people calling us five years ago saying, ‘Hey, when are you going to fix those bridges?’ We responded. We did maintenance, but unfortunately, no one knew West Virginia was going to shut down access to their side of the road,” said White.
The property owner said he would consider allowing people to use the road again if West Virginia and PennDOT work out a plan to fix the bridge and maintain it.