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. PennDOT District 8 bridge engineer Doug Knoll said this is the most significant widespread seen since Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. Over the next few days, crews will inspect about 90 state-owned bridges. Once the water recedes, workers will get in, probe for any scour issues and check to see if there’s any misalignment. Scour is where the material at the foundation of a bridge can get washed away. Knoll said one of the biggest reasons you should never drive around barriers or over a flooded bridge is a lot of times the bridges are fine however the approach roadways are washed away or there are issues that need repaired.
Delivering on the promise of greater transparency in state government, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) announced that Senate expense reports are now available to the public online. The reports detail all outlays for each individual Senator’s office and institutional offices. Expense reports for July were posted earlier this week and the system will be updated with new reports every month going forward. Categories of costs available in the reports include: per diems, car leases, office rent, utilities, postage, mileage, lodging, meal reimbursements and more. Expenses for each caucus service office are listed under the respective Leader reports.
Problems with the state unemployment system continue. While the state says it’s getting through claims much faster with the new system that launched in June, it’s still not fast enough for the people waiting on the money they deserve. One man’s identity was stolen last year when he was working. He filed a police report and notified Labor and Industry. Fast forward to about a month ago, he’s now unemployed and can’t file a claim. Another woman filed her unemployment claim in June and hasn’t been paid yet. She explained her frustrations calling the lack of communication and system of a whole, a failure in her eyes. The state says since its launch in June, the backlog of claims has decreased by one-third but there are still new claims that are still in the queue.
State officials are urging responsible, designated driving ahead of the Labor Day Holiday. PennDOT, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), and the Pennsylvania DUI Association gathered recently in Harrisburg with local police agencies and victim’s advocates. The event was to urge motorists to celebrate responsibly. According to PennDOT data, in 2020 there nearly 2,700 crashes resulting in 39 fatalities statewide over Labor Day. Of those numbers, 231 crashes resulting in 12 fatalities were alcohol-related. Police will conduct impaired driving enforcement details as part of a national impaired driving enforcement and education initiative running through September 6th. To learn more about PennDOT’s efforts to prevent impaired driving or other safety initiatives, visit www.PennDOT.gov/Safety.