- The Federal Highway Administration has awarded a $192 billion design-build contract to Kiewit Infrastructure Co. for rehabilitation work on Washington, DC's historic Arlington Memorial Bridge, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
- The Interior Dept. will receive a $90 million FASTLANE grant from the U.S. Transportation Department, $30 million through 2017 federal appropriations and $107 million from the National Park Service. The agency said $35 million beyond the cost of the Kiewit contract is for engineering, construction management, wetlands mitigation and contingencies.
- The Interior Department said the design-build process will save taxpayers approximately $35 million and reduce the schedule by 18 months. Construction will begin in the fall of 2018.
The project marks another step forward in a growing effort to bring the District's — and U.S. — bridge infrastructure up to modern standards. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) report, around 9% of the nation's bridges are structurally deficient. More still, it would cost $700 billion to repair them all.
The nation's capital is home to the highest percentage of functionally obsolete bridges in the U.S. And, with its expanding population, the need for further repairs only stands to grow. Another span, the new Frederick Douglass Bridge, is scheduled for a $441 million replacement to help progress repair efforts. The bridge, however, has come under fire from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) for its design, with the CFA calling it "too industrial."
The AECOM-designed bridge, which spans the Anacostia River, is set to begin construction by the end of this year, but the CFA is pushing for a redesign. The CFA recommendation is not binding, but, according to the Washington Business Journal, the project is not likely to move forward without the commission's nod.
Disagreements over the design selection process have also plagued Miami's new $800 million "signature bridge." That process is still unresolved, even though the Florida Department of Transportation chose a winner in May. A state panel and local advisory group have been at odds since the FDOT kept the scoring and designs from each competitor under wraps until after the award was made. At the heart of the dispute, however, is the local committee's belief that they were shut out of the decision-making process, contrary to promises they say were made by the state.