JEFFERSON CITY - All the pieces are now in place to complete the Safe & Sound program - the largest bridge improvement in Missouri history.
In a special meeting today, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission selected KTU Constructors to replace 554 bridges across the state in the next four years through a Design-Build contract. Combined with another 248 bridge projects that the Missouri Department of Transportation is completing with innovative contracting methods, Missourians will be driving across 802 new bridges by Oct. 31, 2014.
KTU's proposal, to build all 554 new bridges by the end of 2013 at a cost of $487 million, was deemed by the Commission to be the ‘best-value.' The full 802-bridge program is expected to cost $700 million. MoDOT will sell bonds to finance the program, repaying them with annual payments of $50 million coming from the Federal bridge funds it receives each year. Over the life of the project that will represent a savings of $500 million over the privately financed Design-Build-Finance-Maintain program that was determined by the Commission last September to be unaffordable. It would have required payments in the $65-74 million range over 25-30 years.
"The Commission made the right decision last fall, when the nation's financial market meltdown made it impossible to proceed, and they made the right decision today," MoDOT Director Pete Rahn said. "Missourians simply deserve better bridges and they will receive them through the Safe & Sound program, and at the lowest cost."
The KTU Constructors team is led by Kiewit Western Company, Traylor Bros., Inc., United Contractors, Inc., HNTB Corporation and The LPA Group, Inc. They will be responsible for design, construction, project management and public outreach for all 554 bridge projects, and will be joined by a host of Missouri-based subcontractors and material suppliers.
KTU spokesman Kent Grisham said, "This is an exciting project and we are proud to have been entrusted with it. We have already begun the process of identifying Missouri subcontractors and suppliers because buying and hiring locally is going to be a high priority for us; along with our absolute commitment to building these bridges safely, on time and on budget."
KTU's bid was more than $31 million lower than the other proposer, Missouri Bridge Builders. Bridges Across Missouri, another team that had been under consideration, did not submit a proposal.
"Ultimately we had two quality teams who could deliver this project. KTU Constructors, though, will deliver it most economically," Rahn said.
Speed of construction and flexibility in construction schedules to respond to local issues were also critical components of MoDOT's program requirements. For 493 bridges on low-volume routes, the contract requires the average closure be 45 days. The remaining 61 bridges will either be closed, built in stages, or utilize bypasses to minimize impacts to motorists.
Within the next few weeks, MoDOT and KTU will negotiate the final design-build contract, and work is expected to begin on some of the replacement projects later this summer.
Of the 248 rehabilitation projects, 20 are already completed and 29 are under construction. In all, contracts have been awarded on 109 bridges, with bids coming in 30 percent under budget for a total savings of nearly $15 million.
Interested persons can keep up to date on the progress of Safe & Sound bridges at the program's Web site - www.modot.org/safeandsound
. An interactive map utilizes color-coded icons to identify each bridge location and illustrate its schedule milestones. The site also gives other details about each bridge, including suggested detour routes.