MERCER COUNTY, Pa. (WKBN) – Hundreds of structurally deficient bridges across the state of Pennsylvania are going to be replaced in the next four years, including some in the Shenango Valley.
A bridge in Lackawannock Township is one of three in Mercer County and 18 in Lawrence County that are deemed deficient.
“It does not mean they are unsafe. But it does mean, either because of age or condition of some element, it needs some major repairs done to it or replaced. And they are all candidates for replacement. That is why they are being selected,” Brian Yedinak, assistant district executive for design for PennDOT.
Across The Keystone state, 558 bridges will be replaced over the next four years to help fix Pennsylvania’s aging infrastructure. The state will not do the work themselves, but will contract out to private business for the first time ever.
The state will still own the bridges, but the contractors will be responsible for the maintenance and any repairs that are needed on them for the next 28 years.
“In this case, the contractor will be responsible if for some unforeseen reason something happens to the bridge and needs repaired during that time period, they will be responsible rather than the Commonwealth taxpayers,” Yedinak said.
The billions of dollars needed to replace the bridges will come from the state’s newly expanded transportation program called Act 89, which was passed in 2012. Officials said tens of millions of dollars have been injected in the district, which includes the Shenango Valley, to repave roads.
“And even this P3 project, the bridge job, it was going to advance anyway because the P3 law was passed back in 2012 but it would have been much smaller. It might have been around 300 bridges,” Yedinak said.
Four companies are vying for the project and PennDOT hopes to award the bid by the end of October.
For more information on the Rapid Bridge Replacement program, click here.