Senate approves more fencing on overpasses

The state Senate this week passed legislation to erect protective fencing over interstate highways.

Senate Bill 564, also known as the Budd Bill, provides for the installation of fencing in the construction of new bridges and on existing ones under major renovation.

“I’m grateful for my colleagues for supporting this measure,” state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, said. “This bill will undoubtedly improve the safety of our transportation infrastructure and help further protect pedestrians and motorists alike.”

In 2014, Sharon Budd was a passenger in her family’s car traveling on Interstate 80 in Union County when a rock thrown from an overpass, smashed through the windshield of her vehicle and struck her in the face.

Budd, 52, of Uniontown, Ohio, suffered serious head injuries.

Four teenagers were prosecuted as result of the incident.

Budd’s husband, Randy, lobbied to have Pennsylvania law changed to require added fencing on overpasses.

Yaw said the incident is among many similar cases of rocks or other objects thrown at vehicles.

On Sept. 20, three people in Berks County were arrested in connection with a case of rock-throwing that damaged at least three vehicles on Interstate 78. The juvenile suspects have been charged with propulsion of missiles, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and criminal mischief, all misdemeanor offenses.

Yaw said that the most recent incident brought a number of emails to his office.

“Sadly, this is just one of many incidents reported across the Commonwealth where objects have been repeatedly released from overpasses,” he said. “The problem continues to be danger as evidenced by recent events.”

The bill now goes to the state House for consideration.