May 28, 2020
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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Public-Private Transportation Partnerships or P3 Board approved a project on December 4 to reconstruct a 4.5-mile section of Interstate 81 near Wilkes-Barre.

[Above photo via Wikipedia.]

PennDOT said in a statement that this project will widen I-81 to three lanes in both directions between Exit 164 to Exit 168, realigning 2.5 miles of I-81 southbound, and replacing eight bridges, along with other improvements such as eliminating a left-hand exit.

The agency said this 4.5-mile segment of I-81 – a major north/south corridor for freight-hauling trucks – is experiencing an increase in demand by road users coupled with an increase in the age of the infrastructure has made it challenging to stay ahead of the needs of the traveling public. Delivering this reconstructed corridor through P3 delivery will allow PennDOT to address these issues and needs in a faster timeframe than traditional delivery, it said.

PennDOT added that as part of the Public and Private Partnerships for Transportation Act or P3 law established in July 2012, if the seven-member P3 Board determines a state operation or project would be more cost-effectively administered or delivered by a private company, the department or appropriate transportation agency can advertise a competitive request for proposals or RFPs and enter into a contract with a company to completely or partially deliver the transportation-related service or project.

editor@aashto.org

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