Pilot Project. St. Francisville Bridge (below) is state’s first design-build job. Huey P. Long Bridge (above) will be widened.

DOTD in May short-listed three joint venture teams for the St. Francisville Bridge. They are: American Bridge and Bilfinger Berger with URS Corp.; Audubon Bridge Constructors, with Flatiron Constructors Inc., Granite Construction Co. and Parsons Transportation Group with Buckland & Taylor LTD; and MRB Constructors, with Traylor Bros. Inc., Massman Construction Co., Gilbert Southern Corp. and HNTB Corp.

Final selection is scheduled for early March 2006, followed by an April notice to proceed. "Utilizing design-build delivery is allowing us to shorten the construction schedule and have this project completed...by Dec. 31, 2010," says DOTD Secretary Johnny Bradberry.

Design-build, authorized by the legislature in 2004, will shave about 18 months off the schedule for the four-mile Mississippi River crossing with a 3,000-ft-long main span. Located about 40 miles north of Baton Rouge between Point Coupee and West Feliciana parishes, it will connect LA 10 and US 61, replacing a ferry crossing and linking 10.6 miles of new road.

Two other New Orleans bridge projects–the $413-million Huey P. Long Bridge widening and the $209-million Florida Ave. High-Rise Bridge at the Industrial Canal– also are critical parts of a $4-billion Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) program, the largest in state history. TIMED targets 16 major projects for accelerated development, including widening 539 miles of state highway.

This construction will help revitalize the state but has officials concerned, especially over bridge bids. "We’re interested in the pricing right now following the hurricanes and we’re concerned about competition," says Buddy Porta, DOTD program manager. "These are big projects, which tend to limit the number of contractors, and with all of them going at the same time, it could be a problem."

Widening the Long Bridge to three lanes in each direction, plus shoulders, will be completed in three phases using design-bid-build contracts. One phase will be to widen and strengthen the substructure and will be put out for bid on Dec. 14. Another phase will widen the main span superstructure and will be bid in mid-2006. The last phase, for new approaches, will be bid in late 2006.

"This is a steel-truss railroad bridge with four highway lanes cantilevered off the sides," says Dale K. McDaniel, deputy director for major bridges for Louisiana Timed Managers, the TIMED program manager joint venture of Parsons Brinckerhoff, LPA Group Inc. and GEC Inc. The bridge carries 50,000 vehicles per day and serves as an evacuation route.

The Florida Ave. Bridge, also designated as an evacuation route, will be design-bid-build with two options for its 1,500-ft-long main span–a steel plate girder structure or a cast-in-place concrete segmental structure. DOTD plans an award in mid-2007. It will be let in three phases–main span, east approach and west approach, all within three months of each other. Approaches and secondary bridges will add 4.5 miles of work.

Five TIMED road jobs have been completed. Future work has been broken down into manageable segments and are in various design or construction phases, to be completed before 2010. TIMED, which carries an 80% residency requirement, is funded by a dedicated 4¢ gas tax and bond sales.

he Louisiana Dept. of Transportation and Development is nearing final team selection for the state’s first-ever design-build bridge job. The $269-million cable-stayed St. Francisville Bridge is a critical part of an accelerated multi-billion dollar construction program designed to promote statewide economic development.