PennDOT suggests 9 bridges in the state add tolling, including one on I-79

You might soon have to pay a toll to cross some bridges in Pennsylvania, including one in Bridgeville on I-79.

This comes as reconstruction and rehabilitation of bridges in Pennsylvania can be accelerated after a new program was approved, according to the state’s Department of Transportation.

The proposal was announced in November.

Thursday, PennDOT announced the nine bridges in Pennsylvania that they are suggesting tolls be added to in order to help with transportation funding in the state. In a news release, PennDOT officials called the new tolling program “a viable near-term solution” and stated that the bridges under consideration are fairly large. They would require “significant funds to rehabilitate or replace.”

PennDOT officials also said these bridges were chosen based on the ability to make repairs within two to four years:

· I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project (Berks County)

· I-79 widening, Bridges and Bridgeville Interchange Reconfiguration (Allegheny County)

· I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges (Clarion County)

· I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges (Luzerne County)

· I-80 North Fork Bridges Project (Luzerne County)

· I-80 Over Lehigh River Bridge Project (Luzerne, Carbon counties)

· I-81 Susquehanna Project (Susquehanna County)

· I-83 South Bridge Project (Dauphin County)

· I-95 Girard Point Bridge Improvement Project (Philadelphia County)

PennDOT said the tolling would be entirely electronic, using E-ZPass or license plate billing. The money collected at each bridge would be used only for the construction, maintenance and operation of that bridge. The tolling would be installed for both directions of travel and cost between $1.00 and $2.00.

The current budget for highway and bridge maintenance in Pennsylvania is about $6.9 billion per year, which PennDOT said is less than half of what’s needed to keep the roads and bridges in good condition. Officials said part of the problem is that the money collected from the gas tax hasn’t kept up with the needs for repairing or replacing roads and bridges. The gas tax was last raised in 1993.

In Pennsylvania, the average bridge is over 50 years old.

These bridge projects and the associated tolling will be looked at over the next year before any final decisions are made.