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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 2, 2017 01:24 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw
To: All Senate members
Subject: Installation of protective fencing over Interstate highways
In the near future, I intend to re-introduce legislation that will require the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to include protective fencing in the construction of new bridges and erect protective fencing on any existing bridge at such time that a major renovation is required and the bridge is located over an Interstate highway.

In 2014, Sharon Budd, of Uniontown, Ohio was a passenger in her family's car traveling through my Senate District on Interstate 80 when a rock plunged out of the darkness, smashed through the windshield of her vehicle and struck her in the face. Fortunately, Sharon survived the incident; however, she has since been through multiple surgeries and continues to struggle with lasting effects of her injuries.

Currently, PennDOT does have guidelines in place for protective fence-railing, but only when there is a bridge with a sidewalk over an interstate or railroad or other limited access freeway; when there is a sidewalk on the bridge and the bridge is near a school or playground or other area frequented by children; in large urban areas where pedestrians might cross over the bridge and police surveillance is limited.

The Gray Hill Road overpass in Union County, from which the rock was thrown that hit the Budd car and a tractor-trailer truck, did not meet the criteria for protective fencing.

Sadly, this is just one of many incidents reported across the Commonwealth where objects have been repeatedly released from overpasses.

Last year, the Ohio Department of Transportation noted that protective fencing will be a part of all new ODOT bridges and bridges that are renovated in Ohio thanks in large part to the advocacy of the Budd family and friends.

I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this important legislation that would improve the safety of our transportation infrastructure and help further protect our many users.

Introduced as SB564