Butkovitz: Be Careful Which Philly Bridges You’re Using

City Controller’s office press release:

City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released a follow up review of the Department of Streets’ Bridge Maintenance Unit that found several structurally deficit bridges with conditions that still require corrective action.

At the completion of the Controller’s Office’s inspections in the spring, two of the four bridges that were revisited from the 2009 report, the Willow Grove Avenue Bridge and Calumet Street Bridge, had not been repaired as required. Both of these structurally deficient bridges displayed steel beams that were exposed and heavily corroded, along with falling concrete.

“Our inspection team found the conditions of these bridges were worse than what we observed four years ago,” said Butkovitz. “With both of these bridges having been built prior to 1930 and currently structurally deficient, it’s imperative that necessary repairs are made immediately.”

According to Butkovitz’ review, one in every four city-owned bridge is structurally deficient and 90 of the 150 are at least 60-years old. Six city-owned bridges have weight restrictions of five tons or less.

The Inquirer adds:

City officials said they would soon begin using a system that electronically tracks work orders.

Acting Streets Commissioner Dave Perri said the city would need $300 million – the equivalent of three years worth of the city’s capital projects – to repair all of its bridges.

“The budget allocated to the Streets Department for maintenance of our infrastructure is limited and does not allow us to make all the repairs and perform all the maintenance we feel is necessary to maintain our infrastructure in top condition,” said Darin L. Gatti, the city’s chief engineer and surveyor, in a written response to the controller’s report.