Familiar contractor chosen for 520 floating bridge

The state selected Kiewit-General-Manson today to build a new Higway 520 floating bridge. The joint venture submitted a bid of $586.5 million.

If the names sound familiar, that’s because Kiewit was part of a joint venture that build the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for $735 million, it teamed with General to replace the east half of the Hood Canal floating bridge and retrofit the west side for $521 million, and Manson is working with Mowat to build a new Manette Bridge for $61 million.  They’ve been making a pretty good living off of bridges in our neighborhood.

Their proposal for the 520 Bridge was the lowest of three, and was $163.5 million less than the upset price of $750 million. I don’t know exactly what that is. I looked it up and it’s like the lowest price they’ll take for something at auction. That doesn’t make much sense here. We’ll just say it was the state estimate for now.

The other bidders were Flatiron-Skanska-Traylor and 520 Corridor Constructors. I wonder how much it costs to prepare a bid for a project as big and complicated as this. Can’t be cheap. I guess that’s an incentive to be competitive, so you don’t lose all that money you’ve invested.

It wasn’t just the bid price. Technical scores were also given, and the two combined to determine the “apparent best value” for the project. WSDOT is doing a final review and expects to award and execute the design-build contract in the coming weeks.

A design-build contract is where a designer and contractor join forces to submit a design and construction proposal with a fixed price.

Construction is scheduled to start on Lake Washington next year. WSDOT’s goal is to open the new bridge to traffic as early as December 2014. This is part of a larger project that totals about $4 billion, with the state paying a bunch of it. I don’t think they even know what the final cost will be yet. This contract is for buidling a six-lane floating bridge with wider, safer shoulders, a transit/HOV lane in each direction and a bicycle/pedestrian path. The contractor also has to tow a bunch of pontoons from Grays Harbor, build 44 smaller ones and 58 anchors, a highway approach on the east side, and a new maintenance facility and dock on the east shore of Lake Washington. Kiewit-General already has a $367 millon contract for the pontoon project in Aberdeen.