Deadline looms for companies to submit proposals for the I-35W bridge contract

Teams scramble to consider every detail involved with building bridge quickly

News Star Tribune September 05, 2007
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The four teams vying to win the contract to build the new I-35W bridge have mere days to finish their proposals.

The technical proposals are due Sept. 14, and the price proposals are due Sept. 18.

For the proposals, teams must gather information on factors such as river conditions, soil and utilities at the site; must line up material suppliers and subcontractors; analyze weather patterns to figure out work schedules; and look at data on river levels, said Dave Semerad, CEO for the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota.

The teams will determine how to staff each task, figure out equipment needs and factor in safety precautions, Semerad said.

“Figures will be checked and rechecked and then checked again and then checked again,” he said.

The teams want to ensure they have a good chance at some of the millions of dollars in financial incentives offered for completing the job early, said Robert Johns, director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota. Teams will “just plan it very tightly,” he said. “This is hard work.”

Each of the four companies competing for the winning bid is capable of doing the job well, observers said.

“It’s a pretty competitive field and these companies have been successful,” Johns said.

Once the technical proposals are submitted, Mn/DOT will score them on quality and aesthetics, planned enhancements to the bridge parameters and surrounding area and commitment to public relations, said Terry Ward, a deputy project manager for Mn/DOT.

State officials implemented the accelerated schedule because they want the bridge completed by the end of 2008.

Ward said he expects a lot of excitement Sept. 19, when officials pair the price proposals with the technical score to determine who is awarded the contract. The teams are:

Ames Construction Inc. and Lunda Construction Co.

Ames refers to itself as one of the nation’s largest heavy civil and industrial design-build contractors. Its work includes a recently completed bridge over the Mississippi in Sauk Rapids. The company says that it has completed nearly $1 billion in design-build contracts.

Its partner, Lunda, operates out of Black River Falls, Wis., and claims it is Mn/DOT’s largest bridge contractor by volume, completing contracts on 37 major bridges over the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers since 1993.
The team is partnering with HDR Engineering.

C.S. McCrossan Construction Inc. and Edward Kraemer & Sons

McCrossan, based in Maple Grove, has worked on projects including the Hiawatha light-rail line, Hwy. 610 in the north metro area and the widening of I-494 from four to six lanes between Edina and Plymouth.

Its partner, Edward Kraemer & Sons, is based in Plain, Wis., and specializes in river bridges, having worked on such bridges as the Great River Bridge in Burlington, Iowa. Recent Minnesota projects include the I-25E Lexington Bridge and Ford Parkway Bridge.

The team is partnering with Jacobs Engineering Group.

Flatiron Constructors Inc. and Johnson Bros.

Flatiron worked on the accelerated schedule project to design and build twin I-10 bridges over Escambia bay in Florida after damage from Hurricane Ivan. It has also done work on bridges such as the Oakland Bay Bridge in California.

Its partner, Johnson Bros., has done work on such bridges as the Hennepin Avenue Suspension, 3rd Avenue and Stone Arch.

Walsh Construction Co. and American Bridge

Walsh operates in 37 states. Some of its larger projects include the reconstruction of Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway and the emergency reconstruction of the Bay St. Louis Bridge in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

Its partner, American Bridge, has worked on bridge projects in all states and Europe and South America.

The team is partnering with PB Americas Inc.

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