Pennsylvania’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project

Pennsylvania’s inventory of state-owned bridges is among the largest and oldest in the nation. Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation has prioritized transportation investments to repair and replace structurally deficient bridges, including through the $899 million Rapid Bridge Replacement (RBR) Project. With RBR, Pennsylvania is replacing 558 structurally deficient bridges by bundling the bridges into a single public-private partnership agreement. A first-of-its-kind project in the United States, the predominantly rural bridges were chosen based on their similar sizes and designs, allowing for the mass production and procurement of replacement materials. The public-private partnership was awarded to the consortium of Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners as a design-build-finance-maintain agreement.

The newly constructed bridges are designed to last for longer than a century. The P3 approach has enabled PennDOT to transfer maintenance responsibilities to its private-sector partner for 25 years. As of October 2019, the project has replaced 553 of the 558 bridges in a span of five years, compared to an estimated 8 to 12 years under the traditional procurement process.   

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