The recovery from Hurricane Katrina will soon take a major step forward as the Mississippi Dept. of Transportation awards contracts to replace two major bridges destroyed by the storm.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Ocean Springs Biloxi Bridge on Aug. 29, 2005.(Photo by E. Michael Powers for ENR)

Contracts for a new Ocean Springs - Biloxi Bridge and a new Bay St. Louis Bridge, both on U.S. Highway 90, will be awarded January 24. Mississippi DOT set a deadline for the submission of the technical proposal on Jan. 13. Pricing must be submitted by January 23. Both contracts will be awarded independently but on identical schedules. The winners will be chosen on a best-value basis and be given a notice to proceed on February 3.

The design-build teams will set the timelines during the bid process. The contract will contain two milestones, says David Foster, Mississippi DOT assistant chief engineer of preconstruction. The first milestone will be the opening of one span for two-way traffic. The contractor can earn a $5-million bonus by meeting the milestone date, says Foster. The penalty for missing the first milestone will be $100,000 per day. The second milestone is completing the bridge and turning it over to Mississippi DOT. There will be no incentive for the second milestone, but failure to meet the deadline will result in a $50,000 per day liquidated damages assessment, says Foster.

The Bay St. Louis Bridge will be 1.9 miles long. Its navigation span will be 85 feet and its run-up spans will be a minimum 37 feet. The Ocean Springs - Biloxi Bridge will be 1.6 miles long, a navigation span of 85 feet and a minimum run-up clearance of 28 feet. The minimum heights of the bridges are based on the storm surge of Hurricane Katrina. The heights vary because the physical characteristics of the bays are different," say Mitch Carr, chief bridge engineer, Mississippi DOT.

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    The Bay St. Louis Bridge will be built as a four-lane bridge with shoulders and a dual-use bike path on the gulf side. The Ocean Springs - Biloxi Bridge will be a six-lane structure and will also include shoulders and a dual-use bike lane. The specifics of the designs will not be determined until the winning teams are selected.

    Despite the uncertainty surrounding the designs, the DOT estimates that each bridge will cost between $150 million to $200 million. The contractor picture is somewhat clearer as four teams have been listed to fill both three team short-lists. GC Contractors, a joint venture between Massman Construction Co. Kansas City, Mo.; Traylor Bros. Inc Evansville, Indiana; Gilbert Southern Corp., Peachtree City, Ga; Parsons Transportation Group, Pasadena, Calif., has bid on both bridges. Granite Archer Western, a joint venture between Granite Construction, Watsonville, Calif., and Archer Western, Atlanta, Ga., also bid on both bridges. Boh Bros. Construction, New Orleans, is pursuing the contract for the Bay St. Louis Bridge. American Bridge/Hill Brothers, a joint venture between American Bridge, Coraopolis, Pa., and Hill Brothers Construction and Engineering, Falkner, Miss., bid for the Ocean Springs Biloxi Bridge.