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The state of Pennsylvania's bridges, Part 2: Rebuilding them faster

Marielle Segarra/WHYY
The concrete piers (walls) on this bridge over the Swatara Creek in Middletown took weeks to harden and strengthen. Under the state's new program, the construction team will be able to put a pre-fabricated pier together in days.

This is the second story of our three-part series on the state's bridges.

Twenty-three percent of Pennsylvania's bridges are structurally deficient, and many need to be replaced. But between permitting, design, and construction, building a new bridge takes years.

That's why the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is trying to speed things up.

Traditionally, PennDOT hires companies to replace its bridges one or two at a time. Now, it's trying something different: hiring a team of private contractors to replace hundreds of state bridges really quickly. It's called the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project.

Read a full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. 

Marielle Segarra was WHYY's Keystone Crossroads reporter. She reported for the multi-station partnership on urban policy, crumbling infrastructure and how distressed Pennsylvania cities are bouncing back. As a freelance radio reporter, her stories have also aired on Latino USA, WNYC, WBUR and other NPR member stations.
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