Minnesota Bridge Contractor Selected

The state of Minnesota has chosen its prime contractor for the replacement of the collapsed St. Anthony Bridge, and Minnesotans may feel relieved that the state didn’t choose the lowest bidder. Instead, they selected the firm with the highest bid and the longest predicted time to completion, but included plenty of incentives for faster work:

Despite submitting the most expensive pricetag and acknowledging that it would take longer than others to do the job, a Colorado company on Wednesday won an intense competition to build the new Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis.
A team of companies led by Flatiron Construction, the ninth-largest transportation contractor in the country, won a four-way competition with a $233.8 million bid to replace the bridge that collapsed into the Mississippi River last month and killed 13 people.
The lead company estimated that it would need just over 14 months to complete the project, and Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said construction could start by Oct. 15 and meet the goal of having a new bridge open by the end of 2008.

The cost, even if it is the largest of the bids, still fits neatly within the $250 million grant approved by Congress. It leaves $16 million for incentive payoffs, which come at a rate of $200,000 for every day Flatiron can shave off of construction. The state will not have to pay out of its own coffers unless the bridge opens more than 81 days earlier than its delivery. The contract also includes penalties for delays, which adds $200K for every day it runs past the deadline.
The state legislature still resists the speed at which the contract was awarded. The DFL leadership called into question the confidence Minnesotans have in Governor Pawlenty and Lt. Governor Molnau to settle the bridge question. However, the commuters who have to endure the detours will undoubtedly appreciate the fast start to replacing the bridge and the speed in which the executive branch settled the questions. It has been seven weeks since the collapse, and the state has already finished the first stage of the recovery.
Minneapolis and St. Paul have an extra incentive for speeding the replacement process. The Republican National Convention will take place in the first week of September. Getting the bridge opened in time for the national spotlight would mean roughly $8 million in incentives from state coffers — but Minnesota would gladly pay it to have a trustworthy, reliable, and completed bridge spanning the Mississippi in time for the convention. Flatiron wouldn’t mind the extra cash, either. We’ll see if they can beat the clock while building to last.

15 thoughts on “Minnesota Bridge Contractor Selected”

  1. I know most Republicans don’t care about this, much less fiscal conservatives, but I hope this bridge isn’t an eyesore like the one that fell or every other Interstate highway bridge across the Mississippi or Minnesota Rivers in the state. That it is a gorgeous bridge folks will want to come to look at. I mean, it is supposed to be built to last for many decades, right? Can a little extra detail be put in to make it a landmark?

  2. I don’t mind aesthetics playing a part in the design.
    Given the problems with Boston’s Big Dig boondoggle, I’d rather see a bridge done right rather than done quick & cheap.

  3. I’m not one bit convinced that giving money for faster completion is smart or practical. Seems guaranteed to introduce less than best-possible work – despite ‘assurances’ to the contrary.

  4. The bridge that fell was built to be a “gorgeous” bridge. I would rather have something that is not going to fall down in 40 years…..

  5. Boston’s Big Dig was anything but cheap. Build the bridge to meet our future traffic needs. Not to please an effete snob in the Minneapolis Art crowd.

  6. The clock. And, that winter weather! Working outdoors.
    I just hope they didn’t pick the contractor that was doing the paving; when the bridge came down.
    I guess you can’t run a ferry from one side to the other? The Mississippi must have one heck of a dynamic flow.

  7. Sure it was easy to take the costliest bid when the vast majority of the money’s coming from outside MN. If you take off your MN hat, do you think it’s right that the Feds paid for the whole thing?
    Now you poor Minnesotans are crying that the new bridge needs to be pretty. Gimme a break.

  8. Go jump off a falling bridge Terry. I’m not crying.
    Do the Feds not pay for you Interstate highway bridges? Interesting.

  9. Well Captain, you have nothing to be proud of.
    If you Minnesotaians have money to pay for a new baseball park, then, you certainly have the money for a new bridge.
    “The cost, even if it is the largest of the bids, still fits neatly within the $250 million grant approved by Congress.” So you stick the bill on people outside of Minnesota.
    You stink Captain. You and your whole damn state stink.
    Your nothing but a bunch of greedy, sleazy white eskimos, but without the class.
    Go to hell.

  10. Terry,
    Its a federal highway, you twit. It’s part of I-35, which goes from Texas to Minnesota. I’ve mentioned this over and over again on the blog.
    Try reading up on the issue before commenting on it.

  11. Yes, Terry hasn’t been paying attention to the issue.
    That, or he lives in a part of the country where the federal Interstate highway system is built with only his state’s own money. Such a unique place that is.
    Last I checked, the transit accommodations (whatever your opinion of them, smart or a boondoggle) on the new bridge will entirely be paid with local funds, not federal.

  12. The bridge starts in Minnesota and ends in Minnesota and is used primarily by Minnesotians.
    “Its the Feds responsibility”, that is the attitude that got us 9/11 and the collapse of the bridge.
    No, it isn’t. It maybe on paper, but the deaths are local. So its IS THE LOCALS RESPONSIBILITY, NOW AND ALWAYS.
    But why should anyone expect more from a state that is one big farm welfare state.
    PS The Feds can’t even do there first and primary responsibility, defense of the country, securing the borders. And you trust them to maintain your, YOUR, bridges?
    Get your heads thawed out.

  13. Where do you live, Terry, where no highway or bridge was built with federal money? Where, replacement of federal highways or their bridges is entirely done without federal money. It must be an amazing place.

  14. Well, this is a first (for me anyway). I am the Terry that made the 9/20, 1:27PM post.
    All the other posts by “Terry” are someone else. What a coward.
    I’m bowing out of this discussion.

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