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Project Profile: Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project

Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project - Pennsylvania (statewide)

photo credit: Plenary Group


Pennsylvania (statewide)

Project Sponsor

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)

Program Areas

Alternative Project DeliveryProject Finance




The Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project will replace 558 structurally deficient bridges across the commonwealth under a design-build-finance-maintain (DBFM) public-private partnership (P3) arrangement between PennDOT and Plenary Keystone Partners. The concessionaire will also be responsible for demolishing the existing bridges, maintaining traffic during construction, and then maintaining the bridges for 25 years following construction. PennDOT will retain ownership of the bridges throughout the concession period.
Most of the bridges included in the program range from 40 to 75 feet in length and are located in rural regions on the state highway system. The bridges are clustered in two groups, one in northeastern Pennsylvania and the second in the southwest. The project will be completed in two phases with the first involving the replacement of 87 Early Completion Bridges (ECBs), and the second including the 471 Remaining Eligible Bridges (REBs). All work is anticipated to be complete by December 2017.

PennDOT chose the P3 structure to accelerate the replacement of the bridges and facilitate efficiencies in design and the construction of bridge components. This has resulted in a 20 percent cost savings over the life of the concession period compared to PennDOT's replacing the bridges itself.

Project cost - $1.118 billion (includes financing costs)

Design-build contract - $899 million
Funding Sources

Total Project Funding (construction period)

  • Private Activity Bond (PAB) Proceeds (Series 2015) - $721.5 million
  • PAB Sale Premium - $71.9 million
  • Equity (Plenary/Walsh) - $59.4 million
  • Mobilization and Milestone Payments - $224.7 million
  • Availability Payments - $35.8 million
  • Interest Earned - $4.9 million
Project Delivery / Contract Method Design-build-finance-maintain Availability Payment Concession (28 years)
Private Partner

Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners

  • Financing/Management

    • Plenary Group USA Ltd. (80%)
    • Walsh Investors, LLC (20%)
  • Construction

    • Walsh Construction Company
    • Granite Construction Company
  • Lead Design - HDR, Inc.
  • Bridge Maintenance - Walsh Infrastructure Management
Project Advisors / Consultants


  • J.P. Morgan Securities LLC
  • Well Fargo Securities

To the sponsor (PennDOT)

  • KPMG - Financial and overall strategy advisor
  • Public Financial Management, Inc. - Financial advisor
  • URS - Program management
  • CDM Smith/Lochner - Technical advisor
  • Allen & Overy - Transactional counsel
  • Ballard Spahr - Bond counsel

To the concessionaire

  • Plenary Group - Financial advisor
  • BTY Consultancy Group - Technical advisor
  • INTECH Risk Management - Insurance advisor
  • Fasken Martineau - Legal advisor

Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (Private Activity Revenue Bonds)

Duration / Status

The Notice to Proceed was issued on January 31, 2015. The construction of the ECBs began in June 2015, and the bridges will be completed in batches. Substantial completion of the project is expected on December 31, 2017.

Financial Status

Commercial close occurred on January 9, 2015.

Financial close occurred on March 18, 2015.
  • First project to be completed under Pennsylvania's 2012 P3 enabling legislation.
  • The batching of the projects will allow the bridges to be replaced and maintained at an average cost of $1.6 million each versus $2 million each if completed by PennDOT.
  • Largest road project in Pennsylvania history.
  • Largest PAB financing to date in the United States.
  • PennDOT obtained a SEP-15 waiver to delegate NEPA/permitting responsibility to the concessionaire as part of the agreement.
  • The concessionaire is subcontracting all rehabilitation work to a total of 11 local contractors and will use locally-based staff to perform long-term maintenance.
  • Bond Buyer Deal of the Year awards winner 2015.
Related Links / Articles

Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Project Website

PennDOT Procurement and Project Resources

BATIC Institute Webinar


Michael Bonini
Director, Office of Public-Private Partnerships
Tel: (717) 772-4664

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