Four lanes of traffic are moving again on the I-10 bridge in Pascagoula, Miss., only 20 days after a barge battered the eastbound span during Hurricane Katrina, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta announced recently.
The bridge was not scheduled to open until mid-October, but Mineta said a flexible contract that contained an incentive clause helped keep the job moving.
“The bridge was repaired in record time thanks to a flexible bidding process and incentives in the contract,” said Secretary Mineta. “We slashed red tape and got the job done,” he added.
T.L. Wallace Construction in Columbia, Miss., won the $5.2 million contract and restored normal, two-lane traffic in each direction well ahead of schedule, resulting in a $1 million bonus for early completion of the job. Damage from Katrina had closed the eastbound span, causing traffic backups with only one lane open in each direction on the westbound span.
Immediately following the hurricane, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) helped Mississippi officials expedite the contract process to speed repairs to damaged roads and bridges. The effort allowed the state to quickly award the I-10 bridge repair contract that included a $100,000 per-day incentive to complete the work ahead of schedule, Mineta added.
Also, in mid-September, Mineta announced that the Department was providing a $5 million down payment to Mississippi from FHWA’s emergency relief program, which will help reimburse the state for damages to I-10, U.S. 90 and other federally funded roads and bridges damaged by recent storms.