Public-Private partnerships (“P3s”) are picking up steam in construction. One of the areas where P3 projects are the most effective is infrastructure. Officials in Pennsylvania have embraced infrastructure P3’s on a wide scale, and it looks like a wise decision.
The Pennsylvania P3 program for rapid bridge replacement is cutting costs while increasing efficiency. Considering cost overruns and inefficiency are commonplace on public projects, other states may want to take notes. However, the program is very ambitious, so it may be too early to declare it a success.
Curious about Pennsylvania’s construction laws? Here are our Pennsylvania Construction Payment Resources.
Pennsylvania P3 Program for Bridge Replacement
The Pennsylvania P3 Rapid Bridge Replacement Program is cutting edge. Under the program, over 550 bridges will be repaired or replaced over the next 3 years. After they’re repaired or replaced, the private partner will then be bound to perform maintenance for the next 25 years. That should be a breeze, considering the repairs/replacements are expected to last for 100 years.
Backing up a bit, Pennsylvania has a bridge problem. Specifically, the state has over 4,000 bridges that need attention. To speed up the repair process, and to cut costs, this Pennsylvania P3 program was instituted. Under this program, the worst bridges will be fixed under an aggressive plan – hundreds of bridges will be repaired over a few short years.
How does it work?
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) entered into the partnership with Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners (“Walsh”). Under the agreement, Walsh will design, finance, build, and maintain the bridges. They hire local subcontractors to complete the project at their direction.
The program spans across the state of Pennsylvania, and under this format, the local teams of contractors and subs focus only on the specific project at hand (rather than the overarching program). As a result of the increased efficiency, the cost of these bridges has come in at 20% lower than similar projects under traditional formats. What’s more, at least 39 different subs have been contracted on a project in their community.
Pennsylvania thought big picture, and it looks like that’s paying off. Under the program, the bridges most in need of repair will be fixed faster and cheaper. 20% savings is no joke, and 550+ bridges seems like a big undertaking for a 3 year span. Further, a 25 year maintenance period is a lifetime (scratch that- *several lifetimes) in the construction industry. So if this Pennsylvania P3 program works out, officials in PennDOT will look like geniuses. But it’s too early to celebrate. At least wait until the program hits the maintenance phase.
For your state’s construction payment laws, check out our Construction Payment Resources.