County Bridge Program
Bridge Capital Improvement Program
York County owns and maintains 90 bridges and shares joint ownership and maintenance responsibilities with Cumberland County and Adams County for an additional 11 bridges of varying types, sizes and ages. York County closely monitors the condition of these bridges through mandated inspections.
As these bridges require repairs or replacement, many factors go into determining a timeline for the work. The 2019 York County Bridge Plan (PDF), prepared by the York County Planning Commission, guides the York County Commissioners in their immediate and long-term funding decisions for the county bridges.
Federal and state funds are an important part of the county's bridge program. When federal and state funds are approved for a project, the county will only need to incur 5% of the project cost. While state and federal funds are desirable to keep the county's cost to a minimum, they come with administrative and regulatory requirements that must be closely followed. Federal and state-funded projects may take 6 to 12 months longer than similar projects funded entirely with local funds.
Check back here for news and updates on county bridge projects.
- Why are the bridges in poor condition? Don't you maintain them?
Bridge maintenance and replacement projects are expensive and complicated. York County receives some funding to maintain and replace bridges within the county. This amount of funding is low due to the large cost for projects. Due to the age of the county bridges and the limited financial resources, many of the bridges need to be replaced or repaired at the same time, outpacing the current funding.
- I never use these bridges, so why should I have to pay the $5 vehicle registration fee?
County-owned bridges are a component of the larger transportation network that connects everyone with goods and services, directly or indirectly. For example, although you may not use them directly, you may indirectly use them by buying goods from the store that were transported over one of the county bridges. Additionally, others in the community may rely on the bridges to carry emergency services, just as you rely on the transportation infrastructure to allow emergency services to get to your home.
- Why does it take so long when replacing or repairing a bridge?
By reading the updates on the county bridges that are currently being replaced or repaired, you can see that this is a relatively complex process. It is always the goal to complete the project to the highest standards and as quickly as possible. But due to the complexity and components of each project, they can take as little as 18 months or as long as 3 to 5 years.
- The bridge I travel over looks fine. Why are you repairing/replacing it?
While some bridges may appear to be structurally sound, there can be serious deterioration to components of the bridge that are not easily visible to the untrained eye. York County works closely with specialized engineers that inspect our bridges on a mandated annual or biannual basis.
- Why did you close my bridge?
York County closes bridges only as a last resort when the condition of the bridge poses a clear and present threat to the safety of the traveling public. While some bridges are closed for short periods of time for quick repairs, others may be closed for a long duration while funding is secured for its repair or replacement. Repair or replacement of any bridge must be considered in the context of competing priorities of other bridge projects and the limited financial resources available to the County.
- Who makes sure the bridges in PA are safe?
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is responsible for ensuring that nearly 32,000 bridges in Pennsylvania are inspected according to state and federal regulations. Approximately 25,000 bridges are owned by the state and inspections are done by PennDOT employees and consultants who are certified bridge safety inspectors. PennDOT provides oversight for the approximately 6,500 bridges owned and inspected by local municipalities and other agencies.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is responsible for inspecting their bridges and they are required to submit the inspection information to PennDOT.