JEFFERSON CITY - Responding to public concerns, the Missouri Department of Transportation today announced that the dates to advertise and open bids on the new Mississippi River Bridge in St. Louis have been moved.
The date to begin advertising the project to solicit bids from contractors has been changed from September 16, 2009 to October 30, 2009. The bid opening date has moved from October 21, 2009 to November 30, 2009. The new timelines will allow MoDOT to further review the use of minority contractors on the project.
A disparity study is under way to determine if minority- and women-owned businesses are being utilized to their fullest potential within the St. Louis region. If the study determines that these businesses, known as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, are not being fully utilized, MoDOT will submit a waiver to the United States Department of Transportation.
The waiver would seek separation of DBEs into two categories --"Minority-Owned Businesses" and "Women-Owned Businesses" -- rather than lumping them into one group. Federal law requires only that DBE goals as a whole be met on federal-aid transportation projects. Splitting DBEs into two categories would ensure both minority- and women-owned contractors get work.
The additional time will also allow the Illinois Department of Transportation to address land acquisition issues on the Illinois side of the river.