A joint venture of Skanska, Corman Kokosing Construction Co. and McLean Contracting Co. is moving toward a spring 2020 construction start for a $463-million replacement for a 79-year-old bridge across the Potomac River, south of Washington, D.C.

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) on Nov. 21 announced its board’s approval of the design-build contract award for the Nice-Middleton Bridge to the Skanska-Corman-McLean team. AECOM is the team's main design firm.

The authority said the joint venture submitted the low bid and also had the highest technical score among those that made proposals.

The other contenders, in order of MdTA's overall rankings, along with their bids were: Archer Western, $498.4 million; a Granite-Parsons-Middlesex team, $479.1 million; and a Wagman-Trumbull-Weeks team, $605.6 million.

Like the current bridge, the replacement would extend for 1.9 miles and carry U.S. Route 301 from Charles County in southern Maryland to King George County in Virginia.

[View MdTA background on project, including project team's video with design details here.]

The new bridge will have four lanes, double the number on the existing bridge. The lanes will be 12 ft wide and be accompanied by 2-ft-wide shoulders

For much of its length, the bridge will have precast concrete girders supporting a concrete deck. The main spans will have steel girders supporting a concrete deck. The present Nice-Middleton bridge is a steel truss structure.

Construction is to begin in spring 2020 and the bridge is expected to open in 2023, the MdTA said.

To help finance the project, the MdTA in May 2017 applied for a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.

The authority had said in 2016 that the new bridge would include a “barrier-separated bicycle and pedestrian path.”

It later asked bidders for the project to submit an option for adding a separated bicycle and pedestrian path to the bridge. The Skanska-Corman-McLean team submitted a proposal estimated at $64 million. The board decided not to include the bicycle-pedestrian path in the project.

In July, the chair of the state bicycle-pedestrian advisory panel resigned, citing actions that apparently indicated a shift away from a separate bicycle-pedestrian path on the planned new bridge. View resignation letter here, published on line in a news story by WAMU, a Washington, D.C., public radio station.

The existing bridge is named for former Maryland Gov. Harry W. Nice and former Maryland State Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton.

Story updated on 12/9/19 with bids and MdTA overall ranking of proposals; corrected details of bridge structure.