Orange County freeway project reaps benefit of competitive bidding for time and money
If time is money, then Brutoco Engineering and Construction has saved cash-strapped California officials both.
The Fontana, Ca.-based company won an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded contract in September to widen a congested Orange County freeway and add a lane.
Brutoco’s bid came in about $20 million less than estimated and more than 400 working days less than Caltrans offi cials estimated.
Caltrans estimated the work would take more than 700 days to complete, but Brutoco’s bid was for 300 working days, says Tracey Lavelle, spokeswoman for Caltrans.
“This is a very aggressive timeline by the contractor,” Lavelle says.
The project came along at the right time for Brutoco, says Michael Murphy, president of the 43-year-old company.
“(The bid) had a unique twist on it – your bid isn’t strictly low bid,” Murphy says. “It’s how fast can you do the job?”
Brutoco had the staff available to start work on the freeway right away, Murphy says.
“We’re in need of some work, just like everyone else,” Murphy says. “It fit us very well.”
Work on the freeway was expected to begin in late October or early November.
Brutoco will widen the 91 Freeway over a 4-mi stretch and add an additional eastbound lane. A series of retaining walls will also be built.
The project is meant to relieve congestion on the 91 Freeway where commuters from the nearby Inland Empire jam pack freeways on their way home.
The Orange County Transportation Authority, which received $67.8 in ARRA funds, worked with Caltrans to put the project out to bid. Brutoco’s bid of $35.5 million plus its aggressive working schedule won the contract.
The OCTA can now invest the remaining ARRA funds into other projects throughout Orange County, Lavelle says.
The 91 Freeway project was slated to begin construction soon even without the ARRA funding. But the ARRA funding keeps it on track since other state revenue sources, such as Proposition 1B funds, may have been unavailable, she says.
Brutoco has done similar jobs of this intensity in the past, Murphy says. The company repaired a section of damaged freeway in 93 days after the Northridge earthquake in 1994, he says.
Lavelle says the federal-stimulus aspect of the project will require monthly reporting to the Federal Highway Administration.
Brutoco will have some additional paperwork to fill out, but the stimulus aspect of the job is not a major factor in deciding to bid the contract, Murphy says.
“It’s the type of job we would have gone after, stimulus or not,” Murphy says.