Two lanes of traffic along the I-10 Twin Spans Bridge between New Orleans and Slidell, La., are moving again, only 47 days after Hurricane Katrina demolished the structure, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta announced recently.
The reopening of the eastbound span of the Twin Spans Bridge marks the completion of the first phase of repairs originally scheduled for completion on October 30. The eastbound span will handle two-way traffic until the westbound span is reopened early next year. Mineta said that a flexible contract that contained an incentive clause helped keep the job moving.
“We cut red tape and gave Louisiana the flexibility it needed to add powerful financial incentives to get the job done right and ahead of schedule,” Mineta said. “Today’s reopening proves what can get done when you have a can-do attitude, a will-do team and a must-do mission.”
Boh Brothers Construction in New Orleans won the $31 million bridge-repair contract. The contract’s incentive clause earned the company an additional $1.1 million for opening the eastbound span 16 days ahead of schedule. Boh Brothers is now working to repair the westbound span, which is expected to reopen January 14, 2006.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) worked with Louisiana officials immediately after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast to speed repairs to damaged highways and bridges, noted Mineta. As a result, the state was able to review bids and award in less than four hours a Twin Spans Bridge repair contract that included an incentive for early completion.
Mineta also added that Louisiana received a $5 million down payment in mid-September from the FHWA’s emergency relief program. The emergency relief program will help reimburse the state for the cost of repairing the Twin Spans Bridge and other federally-funded highways and bridges damaged by Katrina.