Pennsylvania to replace more bridges through P3

Northampton County has issued an RFP for the refurbishment of 33 bridges within its borders after receiving an unsolicited proposal.

An unsolicited proposal has prompted Pennsylvania’s Northampton County to consider a public-private partnership for the replacement and refurbishment of 33 bridges within its borders.

The Northampton County General Purpose Authority (GPA), in collaboration with Northampton County, recently issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of 33 bridges that will be bundled into one contract. Of the 33 bridges, whose average age is 61 years, 28 require replacement while five require rehabilitation.

Last year, Northampton County Bridge Partners, a private consortium comprising Clearwater Construction (lead contractor), Pennoni (designer), Key Bank (debt provider/arranger), and Polsinelli (legal counsel) submitted an unsolicited proposal for the replacement of 34 bridges. According to their estimates, the project would cost between $45 million and $50 million and take four years to complete.

In November, the county presented the proposed project and received approval to procure it as a PPP from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the state’s Public-Private Transportation Partnerships Board. However, in order to procure the project as a P3, Northampton County had to transfer ownership of the bridges to the GPA. According to a spokesperson for the county, bridges owned by counties do not qualify for P3 procurement.

The project is separate from the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, an $899 million project PennDOT is delivering as a P3 which entails replacing 558 bridges across the state.

The deadline for responding to the RFP is 10 May.