A list of at least 263 bridge replacement projects that will be put out for bid in 2016 under Pennsylvania’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project was published Jan. 22.
This number represents slightly less than half of the 558 mostly rural bridges throughout the state that will be replaced over three years through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s public-private partnership with Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners. Plenary is responsible for financing, designing, building and maintaining the bridges for 25 years. The consortium is funding the construction upfront and will be paid in six installments once it meets specified project benchmarks.
From early June 2015 — when the project began — to the end of December, nearly 50 bridges have been replaced and 80 contracts have been awarded, some of which are still underway, Plenary reported in its winter 2015 newsletter. Bridges in all of the state’s 58 counties are scheduled for construction in 2016, up from 16 counties in 2015. The largest number of projects will be conducted in Allegheny County with 33, followed by Washington County with 15 and Lancaster County with 14.
The P3 has contributed significantly to the state’s employment. Plenary alone has nearly 250 employees working on the project, hundreds more are working for 20 subcontractors and 120 companies are involved in other aspects of the work, ranging from engineering design, excavation, paving and landscaping to ironwork, trucking and utility work. As a result “a large amount of the project’s $899 million costs will remain … in Pennsylvania,” explained Plenary.
The consortium has published a schedule of upcoming meetings for potential bidders on its website. Topics to be discussed include the bid letting process, schedules, bridge locations, materials responsibility and relevant documents.