Next year, the Pennsylvania State Department of Transportation will embark on four year mission to replace 558 structurally deficient bridges across the state. Nine of them are in the Philadelphia region.
PennDOT will be utilizing the new public-private partnership (P3) to complete the projects instead of doing them “in house.”
The contractors, engineers, and financiers of bridge replacement project will be selected in the coming month. Their contracts will cover the design and replacement of selected bridges, as well as their maintenance for 25 years. PennDOT’s first P3 contract was signed in 2012, when State Farm became a private sponsor of the state’s highway safety truck service.
Bryan Kendro, the director of P3’s for PennDOT says that the new approach can get done in four years what traditionally took eight to twelve years. He says this boost in efficiency will save the state at least $60 million annually. The P3 contract will also contain a limitation on how long a bridge can be closed to traffic: single-span bridges have a 60 day limit, and multi-span bridges have a 110 day limit. In comparison, some local bridge projects being done directly by PennDOT can be closed to all traffic for two years.
Only nine of these bridges are located within the five-county Philadelphia region. They are mostly smaller bridges in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, and Chester counties. The most well-known road being affected is Old Lincoln Highway in Bucks County. A complete list of all the bridges and their locations can be found on PennDOT’s website.