Pashinski applauds approval of I-81 project to increase safety & mobility

Project will reconstruct 4.5-mile section of I-81 near Wilkes-Barre

HARRISBURG, Dec. 5 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, announced today the approval of a proposed state Transportation Department Public-Private Transportation Partnership project to reconstruct a 4.5-mile section of I-81 near Wilkes-Barre.

“I applaud and thank the PennDOT Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board for recognizing the growing need for investments in northeast Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges,” Pashinski said. “The approval of this project gives us a rare opportunity to get ahead of the maintenance demands created by increasing traffic and aging infrastructure.”

The 4.5-mile section’s improvements include the widening of the Interstate to three lanes in both directions from Exit 164 to Exit 168, realigning 2.5 miles of I-81 southbound and replacing eight bridges, as well as other related improvements. Safety and mobility improvements include eliminating a left-hand exit on I-81 northbound (Route 309), among others.

“Because this is a P3 project, private companies will have the opportunity to competitively bid to take on this project, helping our local economy and efficiently using taxpayer funds,” Pashinski said. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on mobility and safety in our region for generations to come.”

The Public and Private Partnerships for Transportation Act was signed into law in 2012, which authorized P3 projects in Pennsylvania. This law allows PennDOT and other state agencies, transportation authorities and commissions to partner with private companies to participate in delivering, maintaining and financing transportation-related projects.

As part of the P3 law, the seven-member Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board was appointed to examine and approve potential public-private transportation projects. If the 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 and enter into a contract with a company to completely or partially deliver the transportation-related service or project.

To learn more about P3 in Pennsylvania, visit www.P3forPA.pa.gov.