$1B Arkansas bridge corridor estimate busts $535M budget
- The Arkansas Department of Transportation selected Kiewit-Massman Constructors, the joint venture of Kiewit Infrastructure South and Massman Construction, over two other bidders to design and build 30 Crossing, a rehabilitation of the Interstate 30 bridge corridor through Little Rock. But state transportation officials received some sobering news, the Arkansas Gazette-Democrat reported: The cost as specified could reach $1 billion, but the project's budgeted amount is only $535 million.
- Scott Bennett, Arkansas' DOT director, told members of the State Highway Commission that Kiewit-Massman could replace the I-30 bridge, make improvements to the highway's interchanges on both sides of the Arkansas River, add lanes to the bridge and approaches plus perform other miscellaneous work. But, he added, other extensive work the state wants done is not affordable under the project's current budget.
- The commission approved the DOT’s selection of Kiewit-Massman as the design-build contractor; however, included in the project agreement is a provision that the JV spend the next six months working with state transportation officials to identify potential ways to include more features and not spend more than what's been allocated.
Being able to work out the complete cost and scope of a project and identify potential overruns in advance are some of the advantages of the design-build project-delivery method. In addition, the owner or owner's representative — in this case the Arkansas DOT — has one point of contact instead of having to deal with the contractor and engineers separately. By collaborating early in the process, the design-build method should reduce potential design conflicts, change orders and misunderstandings. Because many potential problems are worked out before construction begins, design-build can also shorten a project's schedule.
Other state DOTs are using design-build for those reasons. For instance, in October, the Florida DOT selected The Lane Construction Corp., a subsidiary of Italian firm Salini Impregilo, to build a 2.63-mile section of the Wekiva Parkway under a $253 million design-build contract. The 25-mile Orlando-area project will cost an estimated $1.6 billion. Lane's portion of the project includes design and construction of a segment of the parkway's limited-access toll road and an Interstate 4 interchange for a beltway loop.
- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 30 Crossing cost approaches $1B; state has budget of $535M, must pare wish list, firm says
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