Costs, Coordination Slow PennDOT Rapid Bridge Replacement Program
Three years after its much-publicized launch, Pennsylvania’s ambitious Rapid Bridge Replacement Program is well short of its goal to replace 558 structurally deficient bridges. According to a Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation statement, the $899-million public-private partnership’s 390th bridge was opened during the final week of 2017, leaving 168 structures still in need of upgrades. PennDOT cites higher costs, right-of-way access and issues related to utility coordination for slowing progress but insists the program has been successful in clearing its backlog of bridge repairs. The joint-venture construction team of Walsh Construction Co. and Granite Construction Co. has replaced more than 240 single-span bridges, 129 box culverts and 12 multispan structures in 61 counties. Of the 218 projects completed during the 2017 construction season, 96% were ahead of schedule.