Bidding for the $700-million to $900-million design and building of Washington state’s new state Route 520 six-lane floating bridge—the world’s longest—now focuses on three teams. The prequalified design-build teams are Skanska-Flatiron-Traylor Bros.; Walsh Construction Co., PCL Construction Services and Weeks Marine; and Kiewit-General-Manson. All three were selected in November; bid proposals are due in spring 2011. The winner will be chosen in mid-2011, with construction beginning in 2012 and the new pontoon bridge between Seattle and Redmond opening for traffic in 2014. “Recently, we’ve seen competition driving down costs,” says Paula Hammond, state transportation secretary.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.