Oklahoma Pioneers New Method to Expedite Bridge Work

For Immediate Release

PR# 02-043

June 7, 2002

To overcome the destruction of part of the I-40 bridge at Webbers Falls, the state is swinging into action with unprecedented ideas and methods to rebuild the destroyed section of the bridge with unheard of speed.

Letting a contract for repair on an emergency basis is not new. But a first in this case, a pre-bid meeting is set for June 8, at the site. It will let contractors see the project location first-hand

Bidding is under the A+B method, a formula ODOT has used on major projects for several years. In effect the contractor bids on the work itself (A) and also on how soon the project can be completed (B).

The cost of repairs is estimated around $7.5 million while the incentives and disincentives can be significant.

The contract is expected to be awarded in a special session of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission scheduled for Wednesday, June 12 at 2 p.m. and the contractor is expected to begin immediately.

Immediately means that the clock starts at 6 p.m. on the day the contract is awarded.

Normally, construction on a repair work of this magnitude takes up to a year. Repair for the collision damage was first estimated at six months, then four.

But with I-40 being a major cross-country corridor, we wanted to get the bridge back on line as quickly as possible and get traffic off the detours.

Considering the latest construction and contracting techniques, the time for the repair project to be far enough along to allow the bridge to be reopened has been pared down to 1,553 hours!

That's just under 65 calendar days. The bridge is expected to be open in late August or early September.

Ambition like that has caught nationwide attention.

The Federal Highway Administration will be watching closely to see how we do it. State departments of transportation will be keeping an eye on it as well, to see what they can apply in their own situations.

Once the bridge is opened, the contractor will have more time to complete other parts of the overall project, such as sodding and cleanup.

On such a large scale project that serves as one of the most heavily traveled east-west artery of the country, the financial incentives and disincentives listed in the contract are not cheap, to say the least.

The contractor will receive $6,000 for every hour they beat the contract schedule. If they run over, the penalty to the company is $6,000 per hour beyond the schedule. No cap has ever been placed on the number of hours either way.

To make sure the construction is done properly and the final product is a sound, safe structure, ODOT will be monitoring the work 24 hours a day.

$3 million has already been approved by Congress for the work while another $12 million is being considered. USDOT Director Mary Peters and Senator Jim Inhofe will inspect the site early Monday and Senator Don Nickles may also be able to attend.

The innovative procedures have come as a result of the cooperation and support of many different agencies and entities including Governor Keating, the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation, the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) and other state DOT's, the U.S. Army Core of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as The Cherokee Nation.

Crews are continuing with the demolition and removal of the damaged structure to clear the way for the new construction.