The Georgia Department of Transportation has offered a $3.1 million early-completion bonus to the contractor replacing a collapsed section of Interstate 85 through Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Contractor C.W. Matthews will receive a $1.5 million bonus if the bridge is finished by May 25 and $2 million if completed by May 21. C.W. Matthews would also receive a $200,000 per day payoff if the I-85 replacement is completed before May 21 — reaching a max of $3.1 million.
The 350-foot section of I-85 collapsed March 30 after construction materials stored below the bridge caught fire. Construction is already on a tight 10-week schedule.
Just a week after the bridge collapse, GDOT announced that it was fast-tracking the replacement schedule to 10 weeks after initial estimates had construction potentially lasting for several months.
The much-used Southeast artery sees traffic of 400,000 vehicles per day and is vital to the region. Atlanta commuters have struggled to find alternative routes since the fire that damaged the section, and the city's mass transit capabilities, or lack thereof, were the target of significant criticism as the international spotlight focused on Atlanta's commuter chaos in the days after the collapse.
With the pressure on, GDOT and state officials set an example of how fast infrastructure projects can get done when all parties are forced to collaborate. This all-hands-on-deck, fast-tracked project management style is similar to what members of President Donald Trump's infrastructure task force have suggested for the administration's proposed $1 trillion plan to repair and upgrade the nation's highways, bridges, ports and other public assets.
A leader of the task force, billionaire Richard LeFrak, suggested modeling their approach to infrastructure after bankruptcy court arbitration, in which one person makes the big project permitting decisions instead of an assortment of agencies. Infighting over environmental and other issues can drag out the permitting process to as long as 10 years.
Trump emphasized the importance of expediting his infrastructure plan to a group of CEOs at a White House meeting earlier this month. Although light on details, he said he plans to cut project red tape and vowed to only support projects that could get underway within 90 days.