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Primary Election: Unofficial Results

Bridge fencing safety bill signed into law

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A state police forensics officer examines the rail of an overpass on Gray Hill Road looking down onto I-80 in August, 2014. Rocks were thrown over the side of the bridge, seriously injuring Sharon Budd of Uniontown, Ohio.

HARRISBURG – Legislation providing for the installation of protective fencing over Interstate highways has been signed by Governor Tom Wolf, according to Sen. Gene Yaw, R-23, prime sponsor of the measure.

Senate Bill 564, now Act 65 of 2018, establishes the “Bridge Fencing Safety Act” to provide for installation of protective fencing on certain state-owned bridges by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

According to Senator Yaw, the bill was introduced at the request of Randy Budd, husband of Sharon Budd of Uniontown, Ohio. In 2014, the Budd family was traveling on Interstate 80 in Union County when a rock plunged from an overpass, smashed through the windshield of their vehicle and struck Sharon in the face.

Senator Yaw was contacted by Randy who asked that a bill mirroring that of Ohio’s new law also require added fencing on overpasses in Pennsylvania.

Act 65 now authorizes 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 that the bridge is located over an Interstate highway.”

The bill was also amended in the House of Representatives to include fencing on bridges where instances of suicide or attempted suicide have occurred.

“This bill will undoubtedly improve the safety of our transportation infrastructure and help further protect pedestrians and motorists alike,” Sen. Yaw said. “I’m grateful for my colleagues in the legislature and Governor Wolf for supporting this measure. It is my hope that this new law will prevent future tragedies from occurring,” Yaw added.