Pennsylvania to replace more than 500 bridges

PennDOT will include upwards of 500 bridges in its Rapid Bridge Replacement project, thanks in part to a new bill that expands transportation funding.

Pennsylvania’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project will include more than 500 bridges that will either be re-built, repaired or upgraded through public-private partnerships (PPP, P3), the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Office of Policy and Public Private Partnerships said in a statement.

The state’s Public-Private Partnership Board had given PennDOT the green light to pursue private sector partners for the project in early October, but the estimated number of bridges that would be included in the project ranged from 200 to 1,000 at the time. PennDOT has identified 4,500 structurally-deficient bridges across the state.

“While [the] recent passage of [the] transportation funding plan did obviously play into this decision it was not the only reason for us to reconsider the size,” Bryan Kendro, director of PennDOT’s P3 Office said, referring to the transportation funding bill Governor Tom Corbett signed into law on Monday.

The new law provides for an additional $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion to be invested in transportation by year five of the plan.

Another reason to include more than 500 bridges in the project was the feedback PennDOT received from interested stakeholders. The agency believes that expanding the programme will not jeopardise the procurement schedule nor the timeline to begin delivering bridges in 2015.

A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is expected to be launched in the coming weeks Kendro said.

Pennsylvania’s P3 legislation, the Public and Private Partnerships for Transportation Act, is just a little over a year old, having been signed into law in September 2012.