PennDOT engineers to inspect 90 bridges in Midstate as floodwater recedes

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EAST HANOVER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Because of the major flooding in the Midstate, PennDOT will spend the next few days inspecting dozens of bridges to make sure they’re safe.

“It’s probably the most significant, widespread we’ve seen since Tropical Storm Lee in 2011,” Doug Knoll, PennDOT District 8 bridge engineer, said.

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Knoll says over the next few days, crews will inspect about 90 state-owned bridges.

“Once the water recedes we’ll get in there, get in the stream and probe for any scour issues, check to see if there’s any misalignment of the bridge, vertical or horizontal,” Knoll said.

Knoll says scour is where the material at the foundation of a bridge can get washed away.

“The bridges are sound but you know there’s certain bridges that are on maybe not bedrock, on looser foundations that we have to keep a close eye on,” Knoll said.

One of the biggest reasons you should never drive around barriers or over a flooded bridge is that “a lot of times the bridges are fine and we’ll see that the approach roadways are washed away or have issues that we have to repair,” Knoll said.

And in the context of the infrastructure bill sitting in Congress, “We have a lot of bridges that are ending their service life in the next decade, so any funding that we can get would be welcomed,” Knoll said.

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