States replacing failing bridges, relieving traffic congestion
August 2017 was the ten-year-mark of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse that killed 13 people and injured 145 in downtown Minneapolis. The bridge collapse was not caused by a natural disaster and this sparked immediate response in Minnesota and across the country to invest in repairing and replacing the nation’s aging and crumbling infrastructure.
The value of bridge construction increased 39 percent, from $23.2 billion in 2007 to $32.3 billion in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Iowa ranked number one in 2016 with the highest number of structurally deficient bridges, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. The remaining top five include Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Missouri and Nebraska. The top five most traveled U.S. structurally deficient bridges in 2016 were in Los Angeles, Calif. Here are a few opportunities from states trying to bridge the gap on failing infrastructure and traffic congestion.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is creating a public-private partnership (P3) for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion project. VDOT has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for interested teams to share their capabilities and experience to best deliver the HRBT as a design-build contract under the Public-Private Transportation Act. The project estimate is between $3.3 and $3.8 billion. The HRBT Expansion project includes building another bridge-tunnel and widening the four-lane segments of Interstate 64 in Hampton and Norfolk. The goal of the bridge construction project is to reduce congestion. During peak times, the route sees over 100,000 vehicles a day. The RFQ process is expected to start in spring of 2018, with a contract awarded in early 2019 and construction beginning in mid-2019. The current timeline sets a completion date for 2024.
Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) received approval last week to pursue a $122 million plan to replace the Belle Chasse tunnel and Perez Bridge. The plan, which includes using a public-private partnership, would be the first of its kind and could offer a new way to help tackle the state’s $13 billion backlog of road and bridge construction needs. The movable bridge was built in 1967 and the tunnel opened in 1955. About 33,00 travelers use the route daily across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Both structures will be replaced by a four-lane bridge that could open in 2022-2023. The next step is for DOTD officials to craft solicitation documents that describe the scope of the project. Those responses will be due by late 2018. A contract could be awarded in the summer of 2019.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on a $55 million bridge construction project slated for 2020 in Pittsburgh. The daily outbound traffic jam has grown to 66-thousand drivers a day as vehicles merge to a single lane to pass the Highland Park Bridge. The end result will be two thru lanes on Route 28 in each direction and dedicated exit and merging lanes for the bridge traffic. In addition, traffic signals are proposed on Freeport Road where the bridge ramps enter and exit. There will also be a new signal where the Aspinwall traffic going to Route 28 now merges with drivers coming off the bridge.
The Texas Department of Transportation Houston District is proposing $15.1 million in improvements to Red Bluff Road from Kirby Boulevard to State Highway 146 in Seabrook and Pasadena. TxDOT has proposed widening a 1.5-mile of that section to accommodate growth and provide another hurricane evacuation route. TxDOT would also add a two-lane bridge with eastbound lanes and a 10-foot-wide trail to the south of Taylor Lake bridge, which would be converted to two westbound lanes plus a wide shoulder that could serve as a hurricane evacuation lane. To see TxDOT’s notice for the opportunity for a public hearing on the project, visit here.
Advocacy groups led by the National Wildlife Federation plan to raise $60 million by 2020 for a bridge construction project over 101 Freeway traffic. The bridge would be located west of Liberty Canyon Road in Agoura Hills and would anchor a 200-foot-long, 165-foot-wide overpass spanning a part of the freeway that carries 100,000 vehicles a day. The plan is to cut down on the deaths of mountain lions in an area where they hunt and breed. Design and placement of the bridge are expected to be determined in early 2019 with a goal of completing the project by 2022.
Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) plans to begin construction on a new pedestrian and bike bridge in 2019. But before they can begin the process, the current bridge must go out for bids to be removed. The Columbia Bridge, widely known as the Clarence Darrow Memorial Bridge, is available to interested parties until Feb. 28 to describe how they can pay, deconstruct and move it. The bridge has been closed to vehicles since 2009 and pedestrians since 2015. Parts of the Darrow Memorial Bridge predate the World Columbian Exposition of 1893. The bridge was renamed for famous Chicago attorney Clarence Darrow, who died in 1938. Since 2015, CDOT has been involved in a process to design and build a replacement bridge. In October, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning approved a $5 million grant to pay for the bulk of the cost of the project.
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) is leading the way in the rapidly expanding area of public-private partnerships. Learn about SPI’s service offerings in both the public and private sectors by contacting them today.