opens bids for
Bonner Bridge replacement
on a contract to build a new bridge over Oregon Inlet were officially
opened on Tuesday, July 19, as the long-overdue project
unrestrained so far by a recently-filed lawsuit by environmental groups
that want to stop it.
Three design-build teams submitted proposals to the state Department of
Transportation ranging from about $216 million to $307 million, before
adjustments were made that reflected technical cost-saving measures.
Greer Beaty, NCDOT director of communications, said the complex, highly
detailed bid submission process ensures that the top three competitors
all have what it takes to replace the aging Bonner Bridge with a short
2.7 mile span parallel to the current bridge.
“By that point, you know that no matter whose bid is highest or
lowest,” she said, “you know you’re getting a quality product.”
Thanks to decreased costs for construction materials and other factors,
the proposals overall are less than the original DOT projected estimate
of $300 million. Currently, DOT estimates it would cost
million to build the bridge.
In general, Beaty said, all DOT contracts have come down about 10
percent in the last year or two.
The team ---a contractor and a lead design firm --- and their original
- PCL Civil
Constructors Inc., based in Tampa, Fla.; and HDR Engineering Inc. of
the Carolinas, based in Raleigh: $215,777,000.
- Skanska USA
Civil Southeast Inc., of Virginia Beach; and Parsons Transportation
Group, of Raleigh: $279,850,000.
Inlet Constructors LLC, of Glen Burnie, Md.; and Figg Bridge
Engineering Inc, of Exton, Pa.: $306,845,000.
But the raw bids are only part of the equation in the contract award,
Beaty said. A list of complicated technical innovations, cost- and
time-saving measures, safety precautions and engineering details in
each proposal are given a value that creates a score, which is then
used to adjust the bid.
The new adjusted bids were: PCL, $194,199,300; Skanska, $279,850,000;
Oregon Inlet, $258,544, 450.
Some examples of the points out of 100 assigned for line items that
were factored in the adjusted bids, according to DOT spokeswoman Dara
Demi, include 11 points for team management: how the work will be done,
how it will be integrated together, how it will be organized and flow;
20 points for quality management: inspection and monitoring of the
project, the type of materials, the way it is engineered; and 15 points
for schedules and milestones: when permits are issued and stages of
construction begin and are completed, including demolition of
Teams making proposals were required to plan to use, at minimum, the
same components mixed in the extra-strong concrete that was used to
build the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge that opened in 2002, Demi said.
The state's longest bridge, the 5-mile Virginia Dare Bridge crosses
Croatan Sound between Manteo and Manns Harbor.
When it was being built, engineers had said that some of its features
were learned from the design planned at that time for the Bonner Bridge
Demi said that, for the first time in a major bridge replacement
project, NCDOT is requiring that stainless steel reinforcements be used
in the new bridge's concrete structure, rather than the black
reinforced steel that is more susceptible to corrosion.
Demi said that, based on past practices, it is likely that PCL will be
awarded the contract, although a final review must still be completed
before the decision is made. It is expected by next week. The
contract that is awarded, she said, will be for the amount of the
chosen team’s unadjusted bid.
Construction is scheduled to begin, at the earliest, in late 2012 and
be opened for traffic in spring 2015.
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on July 1 by the Defenders of
Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, represented by
the Southern Environmental Law Center, included a request for
injunction to stop the project immediately, but Beaty said that DOT
will continue work unless the court orders them to quit.
The most recent action in the matter extended the deadline until Sept.
6 for DOT to answer the complaint.
“Our hope is that we will be able to continue to move forward,” Beaty