The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 23, 2014

Firms to build 13 Valley bridges

HARRISBURG — A state Department of Transportation program, expanded under a comprehensive roads bill passed into law in November, could help replace and maintain 13 Valley bridges.

The Public-Private Partnership — “P3” — will rebuild about 500 deficient bridges across Pennsylvania by having PennDOT contract the design, construction and maintenance of the spans to private companies. The plan, signed into law in September 2012, originally called for the repair of 200 to 300 bridges, with work expected to begin in 2015, according to PennDOT.

But with the passage of the state’s comprehensive transportation plan, that number has been increased to 500, including several in the Valley. Northumberland County has five eligible bridges, Union County four, Montour County three and Snyder County one.

PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch praised the expansion of the program.

“Thanks to Governor (Tom) Corbett’s hard work and commitment to a stronger Pennsylvania, our landmark transportation plan and P3 law will work in unison to make our economy stronger,” Schoch said in a statement.

“This project is a prime example of how investment in the public sector empowers stronger partnerships within the private sector, leading to increased safety, good-paying jobs and better services for all Pennsylvanians.”

Companies will submit their credentials to PennDOT, which will select applicants to submit proposals for projects, which will include design, construction and maintenance of the bridges.

PennDOT “anticipate(s) (cost savings) since the same basic design and construction standards can be used for multiple bridges,” the program’s website reads. Pennsylvania’s bridges are a big concern for motorists, with more than 4,000 spans labelled “structurally deficient” — the most in the nation.

This summer, in CNBC’s nationwide ranking, Pennsylvania was identified as the state with the worst bridges.

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