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Development & Transportation

More Than 500 PA Bridges To Be Replaced In Under Two Years

More than 500 structurally deficient bridges across Pennsylvania are slated for upgrades in the next year and a half.

PennDOT has contracted with Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners in what project manager Dan Galvin calls a unique public-private partnership.

“This is something that’s done quite a bit in Europe and Asia, but it is something rather unique in the United States,” Galvin said.

PWKP will finance, design, replace, and maintain the bridges for the next 25 years at a cost of $899 million. Galvin said the arrangement will allow the company to take advantage of economies of scale and will ultimately save time and money.

“We’re able to manufacture and purchase large quantities of construction materials: girders, beams, aggregate, things like that,” Galvin said.

The company plans to use just a handful of bridge designs for the hundreds of bridges, which Galvin said will make the process more efficient.

“There really won’t be a whole lot of a learning curve every time a contractor needs to start building one of these bridges. He’ll already know, from previous experience … the best way to put this bridge in place,” Galvin said.

The project includes 53 bridges in Allegheny County. The company will begin with 13 bridges this year, most of which are in rural areas. Galvin said he doesn’t anticipate any major effects on traffic.

“These are small, single-span,” Galvin said. “Some of them have detours, others we’re able to do, if they’re wide enough, staged. You build one half at a time and allow at least one lane of traffic through.”

An open house providing more information on the project is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19 from 5-7 p.m. at the Hampton Township Community Center at 3101 McCully Road in Allison Park. Galvin said the public will be able to view photos of the bridge designs and get their questions answered by people on the construction team.