Missouri chooses contractor for 554 bridge projects

| 5/26/2009

By October 2014, the Missouri Department of Transportation hopes to have 802 new bridges up and running, including 554 bridges to be built by one group.

MoDOT selected a $487 million bid from KTU Constructors this past week for the 554 replacement bridges. The bid was $30 million lower than the next bidder. KTU Constructors consists of Kiewit Western Co., Traylor Bros. Inc., United Contractors Inc., HNTB Corp. and The LPA Group Inc.

A transportation official said MoDOT’s decision to utilize one company came from the theory that one company could use its labor and purchasing power to save on costs.

MoDOT estimates a $500 million savings by going with one company.

Director of system management Don Hillis said MoDOT is financing 554 replacement bridges and 248 bridge rehabilitation projects by issuing bonds. The state will use future federal government funds to pay off the bonds.

The bonding method was considered a safer alternative to private financing mechanisms, especially in tight economic times, Hillis told Land Line.

“We considered the 802 bridges to be a commitment to the citizens of Missouri,” he said.

“We did an analysis that told us that we could issue bonds for the design and construction of the program. All along, it’s been our intention to pay back this program with our federal bridge rehabilitation and replacement funds.”

Hillis said Missouri receives approximately $150 million per year in federal funds for bridge rehab.

MoDOT used a formula to choose which bridges get rehabbed or replaced.

“Many of these were aging structures where the concrete had deteriorated,” Hillis said.

The bridge program is called Safe and Sound. Hillis said procurements for the Safe and Sound program began in September 2006 with a $50 million annual budget.

MoDOT Director Pete Rahn announced that the 109 bids received so far for MoDOT’s 248 rehabilitation projects came in 30 percent under budget projections.

The public can track progress of the bridge projects online at www.modot.org/safeandsound.

The company released a statement saying it will employ Missouri subcontractors and use as many local resources as possible.

– By David Tanner, staff writer