Funding Delay That Could Mean Life or Death

By Kelly Bayliss
|  Monday, Nov 11, 2013  |  Updated 2:38 PM EDT
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Weight restrictions on local bridges could mean life or death for some Delaware County residents. NBC10's Chris Cato has the story.

NBC10, Christ Cato

Weight restrictions on local bridges could mean life or death for some Delaware County residents. NBC10's Chris Cato has the story.

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Last week, Pa. Lawmakers failed to vote on a transportation bill that could make the difference between life and death for some local residents.

The $2.5 billion bill would fund repairs to area roads and bridges, paving the way for a more efficient fire department in Aston, Delaware County.

You may be asking yourself how a transportation bill and Delco fire department are related? It's simple. The Aston-Beechwood Fire Station has a bridge next door, but because of new weight restriction imposed two months ago by PennDOT due to lack of repair funds, firetrucks can no longer cross the bridge. The restriction of 19 tons means that firetrucks -- most weigh between 22 and 28 tons -- must take a "scenic" route, adding three to four minutes to their drive time.

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"Three or four minutes can mean the difference in life and death," Aston-Beechwood Fire Department Deputy Chief Jeff Kane told NBC10's Chris Cato. "They say an average fire doubles in size every one minute."

The bridge next to the fire station isn't the only one slowing response time in Aston Township. Also in desperate need of repairs is the Convent Road Bridge where a lower weight restriction was imposed years ago.

PennDOT is offering a temporary solution. Fire Departments can apply for temporary permits which allow their trucks to cross the bridges.

So far this year, PennDOT has issued more than 350. Aston Township is in the process of applying.

"Every second counts in an emergency."

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