Atlanta I-85 bridge
after 6 weeks
Working non-stop for seven days a week, the project team beat even the early completion deadline of May 21, opening the highway segment one month ahead of schedule.
The contractor and its employees have received widespread support from their community, from hand-written cards, to recognition by the Atlanta Braves.
Not all projects go to plan. But when a project arises unexpectedly — and does so in extenuating circumstances — having a plan go smoothly can make a significant difference.
When a 350-foot portion of Interstate 85 collapsed near downtown Atlanta late on March 30, all eyes were on the city in anticipation of what its next steps would be. The highway, which sees more than 400,000 vehicles each day, is a key Atlanta thoroughfare and a widely used route for the Southeast.
As he watched the fire from the collapse flash across his TV, Dan Garcia jumped into action, calling Georgia's Department of Transportation (GDOT). Garcia, president of Marietta, GA-based contractor C.W. Matthews, said his team had several conversations with GDOT to begin mobilizing traffic control, lighting equipment and providing assistance before meeting with transportation officials at the scene to begin planning for demolition.
The demolition process took six days, during which C.W. Matthews finalized negotiated project terms for the highway rebuild. The contract, which targeted June 15 as a deadline, offered a handsome early-completion bonus of $3.1 million, bringing the company's total contract to a potential $16.6 million. Working non-stop for seven days a week, the project team was able to beat even the early completion deadline of May 21, opening the highway segment one month ahead of schedule.
"In a way, it was fun," Garcia said. "It was stressful with a lot of pressure and a lot of eyes, but it was fun because there is a lot of pride in our employees knowing the task that was at hand and working together to come up with the best solutions."
Part of C.W. Matthews' success can be attributed to its long-standing relationships within the region. Instead of having to process and vet certain subcontractors and suppliers, the company knew who it could turn to for reliable service.
"I was surprised by how involved every party was," said Adam Grist, vice president of the company's structures division. "GDOT, the City of Atlanta, utilities, subs, everybody — it's not something we normally run into, but it's a testament to the city and its people about how committed they were to fixing this."
Because of the project's success, the contractor and its employees have received widespread support from the community, from hand-written cards, to recognition by the Atlanta Braves. Though he hopes the incident leading up to the I-85 project doesn't repeat itself, Garcia said C.W. Matthews would be there to answer the call if it does.
The contractor will continue to be a big-name player in Georgia's infrastructure construction operations, most recently securing a $5.5 million contract to widen State Route 20 to Buford Drive.