The Lehigh Valley office of a Chicago-based engineering firm is overseeing a plan to replace and repair 33 county-owned bridges in Northampton County.
The Northampton County General Purpose Authority said it signed an agreement with Kriger Construction Inc. of Dickson City, Lackawanna County, to perform the work through a public/private partnership. The Allentown office of Chicago-based Alfred Benesch and Co. will provide oversight on the project.
With a typical public/private partnership, the government entity, such as the Pennsylvania Turnpike, uses future earnings on tolls and that’s how they fund projects, said Stan Rugis, director of Northampton County’s Department of Public Works.
“We are doing it differently,” Rugis said. “We have not allocated dollars. The developer funds it on his own.”
The developer is also Kriger Construction, who will privately fund the project and get paid through the county’s General Purpose Authority, Rugis said.
The entire project is estimated to cost about $35 million, Rugis said.
He estimated that if the county were to fund it, the project would cost more than $50 million.
Design and environmental work has already begun, he added.
“Beyond saving time and money, a key element of the ‘P3’ project is to create a sustainable and reproducible model that can be utilized for future projects,” said John Brown, Northampton County executive, in a statement. “Northampton County has an additional 60-70 bridges requiring repair and replacement which can be managed using the same ‘P3’ approach.”
The state Department of Transportation also supports the project, according to a news release.
If legislation pending at the state level allows it, the county is exploring the potential to use ‘P3’ structures for larger nontransportation projects, such as construction of a new corrections facility, Brown said.
John F. Lushis Jr. and Peter D. Hutcheon of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus of Allentown are representing the authority on the project. Solicitor Ryan J. Durkin is representing the county.
The project includes bridges in Lower Mount Bethel Township, Washington Township, Tatamy, Stockertown, Bushkill Township, Plainfield Township, East Allen Township, Allen Township, Moore Township, Lehigh Township, Upper Mount Bethel and Upper Nazareth.