A Pennsylvania appeals court threw out a contractor's challenge to the Northampton County, PA, bidding process that resulted in a $38 million, 33-bridge contract being awarded under a public-private partnership, according to The Morning Call. The county owns 119 bridges, and 99 are functionally or structurally deficient.
Contractor Northampton County Bridge Partners alleged that the winning bidder, Kriger Construction, did not have the qualifications to perform the work nor the required state certifications. A judge found that Partners did not have standing to bring legal action.
This is the first time a local government in Pennsylvania has engaged in a P3. According to the county executive, the contract, which also includes a 10-year maintenance provision, will cost taxpayers 25% to 30% less than a traditional contract.
In its February 2017 report, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association found that Pennsylvania had the second-highest number of structurally deficient bridges at 4,506, which represents 20% of all bridges in the state. The report also noted that 18% of bridges in the state are functionally obsolete. The U.S. had nearly 56,000 structurally deficient bridges last year.
ARTBA categorizes a bridge as "structurally deficient" if one or more of the following is in poor, or worse, condition: deck, substructure or superstructure.
P3s are one option municipalities are considering to raise funding and support for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure projects.
The $1.2 billion, 10-mile expansion and renovation of Interstate 70 through Denver will also be performed under a P3, according the Colorado Department of Transportation. The agency has not yet selected the P3 firm, but the eventual winner will demolish an aging bridge and reroute a 2-mile section of the highway underground. CDOT will build a 4-acre public park overhead. The expansion is the largest transportation project in state history.
Another upcoming bridge P3 is the $2 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge, which will link Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The winning firm will design and build the bridge, as well as maintain it for 30 years. Canada is financing the project, and the U.S. will pay back its share from tolls.
Not all P3s are entirely successful. Indiana Finance Authority officials have said they intend to take over a struggling highway P3 in that state in light of financing troubles, late subcontractor payments and schedule delays.