Some rural residents of Centre County may have to suffer a few detours over the next two years, but those residents will also see a brand new bridge for their troubles.
In an attempt to address the state’s aging infrastructure, the state Department of Transportation launched the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project last year with the goal of replacing 558 structurally deficient bridges over the next three years. To date, 50 bridges have been replaced.
With a new construction season around the corner, the project is set to begin 2016 construction across the state, including 10 bridges slated for replacement in Centre County through the end of 2017. Utilizing a public-private partnership between PennDOT and the Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners consortium, the project seeks to rapidly replace the bridges at less cost while minimizing the impact on the traveling public.
The project is the largest construction contract ever awarded by PennDOT at $899 million, according to a presentation by PWKP. The consortium, made up of the Plenary Group USA and Walsh Investors, will provide financing and long-term management for the project.
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A joint venture of Walsh Construction and Granite Construction will handle the building of the bridges, the presentation said, while Walsh Infrastructure Management will take on the warranty of the bridge for 25 years after completion.
Construction is also being assisted by private subcontractors, including Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., of State College, according to the project website. Hawbaker spokesman Charlie Campbell said the firm assisted in building six bridges last year and will be taking on more across the state this year.
“These bridges will last for many years after,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said during the presentation. “We don’t have to go in for repeat patching or repairs.”
Project Assistant Manager Andy Dressler hosted a public showcase of the plan and proposed bridges Tuesday at the Philipsburg Borough Building. The program is a savings to the tax payer, he said, saying that by buying materials in bulk and supplying traffic control needs, costs are kept low.
“Buying in bulk, having limited designs and limited traffic control designs is a cost-savings for each bridge,” Dressler said. “We’re building 558, so it doesn’t take much to rack up some savings right there.”
The bridges are designed to last 100 years, he said, saying the construction is “good quality and a good product at the end.”
Depending on the bridge, Dressler said, closures could last from two weeks to 110 days. Traffic controls include detours, staged construction — in which one lane would remain open while work continued on the opposite lane — or building temporary roads around the construction.
The first bridge scheduled for construction in Centre County stretches across Moshannon Creek along Casanova Road in Rush Township at the border of Clearfield County. Slated to begin in June, he said, the two-span, metal-grate bridge is expected to be closed for 110 days until construction is completed in September.
A planned 5-mile detour around the bridge will bring drivers up Winburne Road, turning at Main Street until it reaches Hardscrabble Road, he said.
A second bridge — located east of Port Matilda in Worth Township along South Eagle Valley Road — is also scheduled for construction in June, and Dressler said he was attempting to put together an informational gathering like the one on Tuesday. Tentatively scheduled for April 5, he could not verify the location of the meeting yet.
Bridges identified for replacement in Centre County
▪ Casanova Road crossing Moshannon Creek, Rush Township, June-September
▪ South Eagle Valley Road crossing Sunnyside Hollow, Worth Township, June-November
▪ Yarnell Road crossing Little Marsh Creek, Boggs Township, August-September
▪ Clarence Road crossing Little Sandy Run, Snow Shoe Township, August-November
▪ Pleasantview Boulevard crossing Yocum Run, Spring Township, March-September 2017
▪ South Eagle Valley Road crossing Dewitt Run, Unionville, June-October 2017
▪ Appalachian Trailway crossing Laurel Run, Port Matilda, June-October 2017
▪ Penns Valley Road crossing Pine Creek, Haines Township, July-August 2017
▪ Bower Hollow Road crossing Pine Creek, Haines Township, August-October 2017
▪ Little Marsh Creek Road crossing Little Marsh Creek, Boggs Township, August-November 2017
For more information, visit parapidbridges.com.