New Midstate bridge restrictions weigh heavily on truckers

'We'll cross that bridge when we get to it' is a fine mentality.

Unless
you physically cant.

“There was 6,000 structurally deficient bridges in
Pa. and they had only worked on 600 of them in 2012,” said Paul Ross, Vice
President of Transportation at Keen Transport Inc., “I don't envy the people in
Harrisburg with the decisions they have to make.”

One of those decisions
came last week, when PennDOT authorized new or added weight restrictions on 111
Midstate bridges

Without necessary funding for repairs. It's a last ditch
preservation effort.

“About 70% of what we haul is over-dimensional,
meaning it's either over-dimensional in measurement or weight,” he said.

Headquartered in Carlisle, Keen is the national heavy weight when it
comes to hauling.

“It ranges from legal weight up to about 260-270,000
pounds,” said Ross.  

Their loads can be three times the max weight now
set for more than 1,000 deficient bridges across the Commonwealth.

Keeping track of new restrictions is a crucial part of Ross' job.

“When you run more miles it costs you more in fuel. It costs you more in
maintenance,” he said.

Speaking of costs, specializing in over-weight
freight has made Keen largest permit user in Pennsylvania. The company orders
around 9,000 a year, paying an annual fee to the state of over $1.2 million.

An expense of a local business that he hopes decision-makers
keep in mind when it comes to financing local roadways.

“I think our
legislators need to get in line and jump on the bandwagon.”

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