Plenary, Walsh awarded Pennsylvania bridges project

Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners has been selected as preferred bidder for Pennsylvania’s $899m Rapid Bridge Replacement project.

A consortium teaming Plenary Group with The Walsh Group has been awarded an $899 million project that involves the replacement of 558 bridges across the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Office of Policy and Public Private Partnerships (PPP;P3) said in a statement.

Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners (Plenary Walsh), which also includes Granite Construction and HDR Engineering, was one of four teams to be shortlisted in March for the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. The consortium also includes 11 Pennsylvania-based sub-contractors.

Under the terms of the contract, Plenary Walsh will be responsible for the design, building, financing and maintenance of the bridges. PennDOT, which will retain ownership of the bridges, will make performance-based payments and be responsible for routine maintenance, such as snow plowing and debris removal.

The preferred group was selected based on scoring that considered cost, financial capability to carry out the project, background and experience in managing comparable projects and understanding of the project, PennDOT’s P3 office said.

The other shortlisted groups were: Keystone Bridge Partners – comprising InfraRed Capital Partners and Kiewit; Commonwealth Bridge Partners – led by John Laing Investments and Fluor; and Pennsylvania Crossings – teaming Meridiam Infrastructure with AECOM.

Construction will begin in the summer of 2015 and will be completed within 36 months. Plenary Walsh will then be responsible for maintaining each bridge for 25 years.

“This initiative reflects Governor [Tom] Corbett’s strong commitment to taking innovative steps to bring improvements to the state’s roads and bridges more quickly and at reasonable cost,” PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said.

According to PennDOT, partnering with the private sector will result in approximately $500,000 in savings per bridge. “The average cost for design, construction and maintenance per bridge in the project is $1.6 million,” according to the statement, compared to an average of more than $2 million through PennDOT’s “standard process”.

The project initially targeted the replacement of 200 to 300 bridges. However, in November 2013, Governor Corbett made an additional $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion available for bridge and road repairs and upgrades through a transportation funding bill he signed into law. As a result, the Rapid Bridge Replacement project was expanded to include more than 500 bridges.