Construction is scheduled to start this year on what will be the third-longest cable-stayed bridge in the U.S., linking St. Louis and western Illinois over the Mississippi River by 2014. The scope, limited bids and challenges of the Interstate 70 project caused the winning bid to exceed engineering estimates by almost $40 million.
On Dec. 30, the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission (MHTC) awarded the $229.5-million contract to a joint venture of Massman Construction, Kansas City, Mo.; Traylor Brothers Inc., Evansville, Ind.; and Alberici Constructors Inc., St. Louis. The team’s bid was $45.4 million less than that of the competing joint-venture team of American Bridge, Coroapolis, Pa., and the Spanish firm Dragados. Missouri Dept. of Transportation spokesman Andrew Gates said the winning bid was higher than expected because of the small number of bidders, the span’s design requirements, the challenges and risks of working on the Mississippi River and the complexities of working in two states. “The contractor just estimated the risk factors a bit differently than the designer and owners did,” says Gates.