Each year, ENR MidAtlantic selects an owner or developer to spotlight as Owner of the Year, chosen from firms or agencies that have numerous projects in the pipeline, made changes to the way they do business or are making a big impact in the design and construction industry.

This year’s Owner of the Year, Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Transportation, exhibits all three traits. The agency has been challenged with maintaining and upgrading 40,000 miles of roadways and 25,000 bridges throughout the state. In 2008, PennDOT identified 6,034 deficient bridges, at the time more than any other state in the U.S. Since then, the state has reduced that number to around 4,000. The agency continues to aggressively chip away at the list at a rate of about 200 to 300 bridges per year, in large part due to Act 89, a $2.4-billion five-year transportation funding plan passed by the state legislature at the end of 2013.

The $900-million Rapid Bridge Replacement program, one of the largest projects tackled by PennDOT, incorporates design/build within a public-private partnership to rapidly replace 558 deficient bridges by 2018.

Act 89 also gave the agency the ability to perform capacity expansion, which they haven’t been able to do in years prior due to the focus on upgrading bridges and maintaining roadways. The $670-million Central Susquehanna Valley transportation project, for example, will construct around 13 miles of new four-lane limited-access highway.

You can read more about PennDOT and its key projects in the April edition of ENR MidAtlantic.