STEVENS TOWNSHIP – The signs are up: 32 tons or less. PennDOT is restricting which vehicles can go over a bridge in Bradford County and about 1,000 others across the state thanks to a lack of money.
“We need to extend the life, and in order to extend the life of a bridge, we want to look at reducing the amount of traffic or the amount of truck traffic on it,” said Sandra Tosca, P.E. of PennDOT.
This means mostly tri-axle vehicles won’t be going across a stretch of Route 706 near Camptown unless they are under 32 tons for tractor trailers.
PennDOT hopes this effort will extend the bridge’s life by about 10 to 20 percent.
“We sure hope so, the bridges are the critical link in the transportation structure,” said PennDOT Bradford County Manager Warren Knapp.
But it`s these weight limit restriction signs that are raising some concerns with those carrying the heavy loads in Bradford County and across the state.
“It`s like they`re trying to stick it to us, making us carry lighter loads,” said truck driver Devon Beeler.
Beeler carries loads of material for the gas industry. He says these weight restrictions will slow down his ability to get his job done.
“We have to cut our full loads to a half load, then that`s you can`t do the job. It`s taking longer to do the job. You got pressure from the contractors. They want it done,” said Beeler.
Other local truck drivers say this is just another hassle, creating issues for smaller trucking companies and say this restrictions are not the solution.
“What are they doing with the money? That`s what my question is. We pay taxes, we pay the road taxes, I mean. Where`s it going?” asked Jesse Milliron of Wyalusing.
But drivers say like it or not, they’ll do whatever is necessary to follow the new rules to avoid hefty fines.
“You`re talking $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 dollars and I know I can`t afford it,” said Beeler.
We reached out to several natural gas companies that drive through Bradford County to see how these new restrictions may affect their business. We have not heard back from any of them at this time.