The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced the final three teams who will vie for an estimated $330 million contract to design, construct and finance the second (eastbound) I-90 Innerbelt Bridge and demolish the existing, aging span.
This marks the first time in Ohio’s history that state transportation officials are pursuing what is known in the industry as a P3, or public-private partnership. What is unique about this plan is that ODOT is asking qualified teams to not only build the bridge but finance a portion of the construction costs as well. ODOT will then pay back the borrowed money over a fixed period of time. In 2011, Ohio became the 30th state in the nation to enact legislation permitting ODOT to pursue P3’s.
ODOT is in the midst of replacing the current bridge with two new bridges: one to carry westbound traffic, the other to carry eastbound traffic. When both bridges are complete, ODOT will have invested nearly $620 million in the city of Cleveland over a six-year period. This marks the single largest investment in one project in one community in ODOT’s history.
Even after paying finance charges on the borrowed money, ODOT is expected to save millions of dollars in public tax money because the longer the agency waits, the more expensive construction costs become and the more cash is needed to make repairs to the current, aging Innerbelt Bridge. One estimate concluded that a 10-year delay in construction could result in ODOT’s spending a whopping $89 million in additional maintenance and repair costs. Plus, pursuing this plan means the bridge replacement project will be open to traffic in 2016 not 2025 as the department once estimated.
The following three teams of contractors and designers were selected to prepare formal proposals:
- Kokosing Construction Co. with Michael Baker Jr. Inc.;
- Trumbull Corp., The Great Lakes Construction Co. and The Ruhlin Co. with URS Corp.; and
- Walsh Construction with HDR Engineering Inc.
The final three teams will now prepare technical and financial proposals and will be scored on elements including: project management approach, proposed design, construction (including schedule), quality management, community relations, on-the-job training and sustainability and green initiatives.
ODOT will soon evaluate each proposal, and the project will be awarded to the team that provides the best value based on a consideration of the technical and financial proposal scores and the proposed duration of construction. The preferred team is likely to be selected this summer.
The Innerbelt Bridge project includes replacing the current aging I-90 span with two new bridges and expands the number of lanes from eight to 10. Crews are currently working to build the new westbound bridge, which is expected to open to traffic this fall.
The DBF team will be responsible for financing a portion of the estimated $330 million cost of constructing the new eastbound bridge and demolishing the current bridge. Construction is anticipated to begin as soon as the westbound bridge is complete. Both bridges could be open to traffic as soon as late 2016.
In January 2012, ODOT announced a $1.6 billion transportation funding gap that pushed back by decades some of the state’s largest construction projects, including the construction of Cleveland’s second Innerbelt Bridge. Pursuit of a DBF team has allowed ODOT to return the project to its original construction start date.
For more information on the Innerbelt Bridge project, go to www.innerbelt.org.