Supply chain issues that have bedeviled transportation projects across the country have also taken their toll on the Florida Dept. of Transportation’s $840 million I-395/SR 836/I-95 design-build project in Miami, forcing the agency to revise its anticipated completion date by nearly two years to summer 2026.
FDOT spokesperson Oscar Gonzalez said in a statement that weather and holidays have contributed to the delay, even as the agency worked with suppliers, planners, and the Archer Western-de Moya Group construction joint venture (AWD) to navigate the uncertainties.
“Together, we are able to work through circumstances and coordinate innovative solutions that help us all reach the shared goal of successfully delivering projects to the traveling public,” Gonzalez added.
According to FDOT, the project cost increased from approximately $800 million to $840 million thanks to materials cost escalation and changes in scope like the underdeck design in coordination with the City of Miami, as well as the cost to maintain existing facilities and provide law enforcement for maintenance of traffic.
The multi-faceted project’s centerpiece calls for reconstruction of a 1.4-mile section of I-395, and will include a six-arched, 1,000-ft-long “Signature Bridge” spanning NE 2nd Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard. Other elements include building a “double deck” on SR 836 between NW 17th Avenue and its connection with I-95 and I-395, known as the Midtown Interchange, and replacing concrete pavement on a nearby section of I-95.
Although AWD was awarded the project in 2017, full construction on the project was delayed nearly a year due to a bid protest by Fluor-Astaldi-MCM (FAM) joint venture, challenging FDOT’s selection process. An administrative law judge ruled in favor of the agency in April 2018, and FAM dropped its legal challenge soon afterward. AWD began full construction early the following year, with a completion target of fall 2024.
Despite the subsequent supply chain delays, FDOT says, AWD has made significant progress on the project’s three main corridors. To date, the agency says, AWD has erected 17 precast arch segments for the Signature Bridge’s arch 2, and the first two cast-in-place starter arch segments at arch 1. The structure’s center-pier footer and second-level cap are also in place.
Elsewhere along the I-395 corridor, FDOT reports that AWD is constructing new east- and westbound collector/distributor roadways, with 940 individual pre-cast segments for the eastbound and westbound bridges that will carry traffic to local roadways, and connect with SR 836 and I-95. These new bridges, being constructed on either side of the existing I-395 are scheduled to be open to traffic in April 2023, FDOT says. Once eastbound and westbound traffic are placed on the new bridges, the agency says reconstruction of the roadway’s center portion will get underway. AWD has completed casting of the nearly 1,947 individual bridge segments needed for the I-395 reconstruction.
Construction of SR 836’s second level also continues with the recent erection of pier caps and bridge beams for the first four viaduct spans by a 488-foot-long bridge cap segment and beam lifter designed specifically for the project. To complete the new SR 836 second level roadway, FDOT says the lifter will erect 145 bridge cap segments and approximately 363 bridge beams. Each cap segment weighs just over 90 tons, while bridge beams range in length from 100 feet to 190 feet, according to the agency. AWD has also completed the concrete deck pour at the first viaduct span, while construction of drilled shaft viaduct foundations in the Miami River is ongoing.
FDOT says AWD has also completed the majority of the I-95 concrete pavement replacement, as well as extension of a northbound auxiliary lane to provide additional capacity, installation of new overhead sign structures and electronic message boards, new drainage elements and guardrail.