This program is already being used by PennDOT to replace 558 structurally deficient state bridges, starting this summer. Using this P3 process, PennDOT believes the cost of a bridge replacement will drop from $2 million to $1.6 million.
According to a 2013 study of the County's bridges,
- Their average age was over 61 years, with some being over 100 years old.
- 22 bridges were "functionally obsolete," meaning they are no longer functionally adequate for the tasks for which they were originally designed.
- 27 bridges were "structurally deficient," meaning they have one or more structural defects that require repairs.
- 37 bridges are load posted and weight-restricted.
- Three bridges have been completely closed to traffic.
The County sets aside $780,000 each year for bridge maintenance. A typical bridge rehabilitation projects takes from four to six years and costs between between $1-2.5 million.
"We don't do bridges well," noted Hayden Phillips.
Once bridge repairs are completed, they will be conveyed back to the County.
Executive John Brown added that the County will continue participation in the Commonwealth Twelve-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TYP), which will enable it to to tap into federal funds for infrastructure.
In addition to saving money and making the community safe, Kevin Lott of the Lehigh Valley Building Trades told Council it would provide 800 jobs, "good paying jobs to people that live right here in the Lehigh Valley."