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 Woodrow Wilson Bridge - Construction

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This article is arranged by contract in a generally chronological format within contract where new information was added to each contract section, with some type of date lead-in so that the reader will be able to see when new information was added.

The FHWA-led WWB Project Coordination Committee established a Design Center for the project, located in Alexandria, which has the responsibility of overseeing the planning, location studies, environmental studies, public involvement process and public hearings, preliminary engineering, and final design for the project. The Design Center is open to the public during normal weekday daytime business hours, and they publish periodic newsletters to the public, hold periodic open house public meetings, and they communicate on the Internet on the website mentioned above.

When sections of the project reach the stage of final design where the next stage is right-of-way acquisition and advertisement of construction contracts, the state DOT of the state in the location of the section (VDOT or MDOT SHA) takes over from there and handles the right-of-way acquisition, advertisement of construction contracts, award of construction contracts, management of construction contracts, and maintenance of traffic during construction. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge itself now belongs to FHWA, one of the very few Interstate highway sections not owned by the respective state, and an agreement was worked out in August, 2001 by FHWA, Virginia and Maryland, to turn over the ownership of the new bridge, when it is completed, to joint ownership by Virginia and Maryland.

Since the Potomac River belongs to the state of Maryland, up to the mean low water line on the Virginia side, it was decided that the Potomac River Bridge contracts would be administered by MDOT SHA, although VDOT will handle the right-of-way acquisition for parcels affected by the portion of the bridge that passes over land in Virginia. All other contracts are wholly within either Virginia or Maryland, and will be wholly administered by the respective state DOT where the contract is located, with the necessary right-of-way acquisition wholly administered by the respective state DOT where the contract is located.

Here is information on all three of the Potomac River Bridge contracts (from www.wilsonbridge.com in May 2001):

Bridge Contract 1
Initial Dredging (dredged actual 330,600 CY)
Cost $14.5 million
Completed February 2001
Duration 4 months

Bridge Contract 2
Foundation contract encompassing the majority of new foundations
that do not conflict with the existing bridge. Excludes VA and MD abutment.
Cost $125 million
Under Construction, beginning May 2001
Duration 24 months

Bridge Contract 3
Remainder of bridge, including balance of foundations, piers, abutments,
superstructure, operator's house and demolition and removal of existing bridge.
Cost $400 million to $450 million
Advertised - August 14, 2001
Duration 60 months

---Initial Dredging Contract---

The Initial Dredging Contract (Contract BR-1 Dredging) is the first construction contract in the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project. It performed initial dredging of 330,000 cubic yards of river bottom soil to prepare the site for construction of the new foundation scheduled to begin later. It performed most of the necessary dredging for the project, to provide access by floating heavy construction equipment into the construction area.

MDOT SHA received five bids on September 14, 2000 for the Initial Dredging Contract, MDOT SHA Contract No. PG3405173. The project was advertised on August 21, 2000.
Weeks Marine, Inc., St.Rose, LA
$14,485,000.00
McLean Contracting Company, Glen Burnie, MD
$16,991,000.00
Jay Cashman, Inc., Boston, MA
$17,354,800.00
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, Oak Brook, IL
$23,698,870.00

The Washington Post on October 20, 2000, had this article, "Ground Broken for New Wilson Bridge". Excerpts (blue text):
After more than a decade of studying, engineering, planning and lobbying, construction of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge began at 9 a.m. today -- and it will continue until the bridge is completed at the end of 2006. Facing the Maryland shore south of the existing bridge, the crane lowered a scoop into the water, hitting dirt just below the river's surface, where it gulped out a mouthful of silt and soil. It then swayed slowly toward Virginia, finally dropping its load onto a barge. It will continue in this manner until Feb. 15 to lower the river bed from its shallow depth of under three feet to 10 feet. The nutrient-rich soil that is pulled from the Potomac will be transported to Shirley Plantation on the James River, where it will fill a 50-acre hole that was mined for sand and gravel. The new 12-lane bridge will be just south of the current one. It will consist of side-by-side twin drawbridges 70 feet above the Potomac. The first six-lane drawbridge will open for traffic in 2004, and the existing bridge will be taken down shortly thereafter.

MDOT SHA had a News Release, October 20, 2000, "Construction of New Woodrow Wilson Bridge Gets Underway". Release follows (blue text):
After nearly 12 years of study and debate, construction got underway today on the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Barges are now in place on the Potomac River to begin dredging approximately 300,000 cubic yards of river bottom to prepare the site for construction of the new foundation scheduled to begin early next year. "Today is a real milestone for the region," said Maryland Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari. "Replacing the Wilson Bridge is the largest public works project in this region in a generation. Getting it underway this fall is key to meeting our goal of completing the replacement project by 2006 and providing congestion relief for thousands of commuters who cross the Potomac each day. The momentum created over the summer by Governor Parris N. Glendening's order to break the stalemate over funding and begin the first phases of the project, now continues."

The Wilson Bridge opened in 1961 and was designed to carry only 75,000 vehicles a day. Today, nearly 200,000 vehicles cross the existing six-lane bridge daily. The new side-by-side twin drawbridges will be wide enough to eventually accommodate 12 lanes and include High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes and pedestrian and bicyclist access. The replacement project also calls for the reconstruction of interchanges on both sides of the bridge in Maryland and Virginia.

Replacing the Wilson Bridge is an extraordinary project and it is crucial that we begin the dredging operation this fall," said Maryland State Highway Administrator Parker F. Williams. "As a result of the hard work on behalf of the region's Congressional delegation, as well as our partners in Virginia and the Federal Highway Administration, we are now on a schedule that will see the first of the side-by-side bridges opening in 2004 with the second bridge being completed in 2006."

Contract BR-1 Dredging was advertised on August 22, 2000, the bids were opened on September 14, 2000, the Notice to Proceed was issued on October 20, 2000, the contractor was Weeks Marine, Inc., and the contract was completed on March 10, 2001 at a cost of $14.5 million.

---Grid Deck Replacement Project---

The Grid Deck Replacement Project was not actually part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge expansion project, but it was necessary in order to keep the existing bridge operational until the first new bridge opens to traffic in 2004. The steel grid roadway sections on the drawspans were almost worn out, and in need of replacement in 2001. Grid deck replacement has been performed several times in the past during the life of this bridge. Since the grid deck wouldn't last until the new bridge opens, it had to be replaced. The $4.8 million project was completed in 4 weekend nights over a 4 week period in April and May, 2001, and administered by VDOT. The replacement of the drawspan grid deck of the existing bridge was anticipated to take 9 weekend nights over a 5 week period, and it was completed in 4 weekend nights over a 4 week period.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch had an article on Apr 21, 2001, "Wilson Bridge deck repair starts - Lane closures slated for next five weekends". Excerpts follow (blue text):
Motorists planning to travel in the area of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge during the next five weekends should beware: Major traffic delays are likely as construction workers replace the draw span's steel deck. Starting this weekend and continuing through May 19, two of three lanes will be closed in one direction from 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays until 10 a.m. the next mornings. The lane closures will allow workers to replace the drawbridge's 16 steel deck panels, each measuring 222 feet by 81 feet. The $4.8 million project, being managed by the Virginia Department of Transportation, comes about four years before the aging span is to be replaced by a new bridge. Officials said the bridge is deteriorating quickly, and the deck, installed in 1985, won't last until the new span is built. The bridge, which spans the Potomac River between Alexandria and Oxon Hill, Md., is a critical transportation link along Interstate 95 for commuters and long-distance motorists. "With 200,000 vehicles a day pummeling the bridge, we've run out of time," said Rolando Nicholson, VDOT's bridge engineer for Northern Virginia. "The steel deck is simply worn out from so much daily wear and tear."

---Foundations Contract - Potomac River Bridge---

The Foundations Contract for the Potomac River Bridge was advertised in November 2000, and was awarded on March 22, 2001, at a cost of over $125 million. Excerpts from Woodrow Wilson Bridge Center News Release, March 22, 2001 (in blue text):
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration (SHA) identified Tidewater Construction Corporation / Kiewit Construction Company / The Clarke Construction Group, Inc. Joint Venture of Virginia Beach, VA as the apparent winner of the foundations contract for the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Fulfilling a variety of contract requirements, their bid of $125,396,511 was the apparent low bid among five proposals submitted by leading construction firms from across the nation.

"This is another major step forward in the cooperative effort between Maryland, Virginia, and the Federal Highway Administration to relieve the worst bottleneck on the East Coast" said Parker F. Williams, SHA Administrator. "The best of the bridge building world competed for this much-anticipated contract, which guarantees the region's citizens will receive top value from the contractor." "We are very pleased to win the work," said E.W. McLaughlin, President of Tidewater Construction Corporation. "We are also very excited to start work on the project that will soundly support future generations of bridge travelers." Foundation construction is anticipated to start in May 2001 and continue until summer 2003. Foundations, consisting of piles that are driven to support concrete footings and pedestals, will be built for a total of 17 piers (eleven in the river and six in Jones Point Park in Virginia). Built to just above ground or water levels, the foundations will provide the platforms upon which the remainder of the bridge will be built.

The remainder of the bridge will be constructed in the third and largest phase of work, which is estimated to begin in early 2002. This will involve completing the dredging and building the remainder of the foundations, v-shaped pier supports, steel girders, concrete deck, roadway barriers and drawbridge operating machinery. Removal of the existing bridge will also occur during this phase. Subsequent contracts will follow with the ultimate goal of opening the first new bridge by the end of 2004 and the second new bridge in early 2007.

The Foundations Contract is MDOT SHA Contract No. PG3415173 (quote):
Description: Foundation Construction for the Replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on I-95/495 over the Potomac River. Work includes pile driving and foundation construction for 6 piers located on the Virginia shoreline and 11 piers located within the Potomac River. Also included is, dredging for a staging area and access channel, as well as minor improvements to Jones Point Park on the Virginia end of the bridge.

There were five bids on the Foundations Contract:
Tidewater Construction Corporation/
Kiewit Construction Company/ Clark
Construction Group, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA
$125,396,511.00
Pile Foundation Construction Company
New Hyde Park, NY
$128,480,712.00
Jay Cashman, Inc., Boston, MA
$134,122,525.00
Potomac River Constructors, Cranford, NJ
$134,454,905.00
Modern Continental Construction Company
Cambridge, MA
$187,347,360.00

MDOT SHA issued the Notice to Proceed for the Foundations Contract on May 17, 2001, to the contractor Tidewater/Kiewit/Clark. The contract was completed on July 1, 2003, at $125.0 million.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch had an article on July 3, 2001, "New bridge gets off the ground - Phase I of span over Potomac to open in 2004", about the actual start of construction. Excerpts follow (blue text):
After more than a dozen years of planning, talking, negotiating, politicking and litigating, construction finally began on the new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge yesterday. Shortly after noon, a 100-foot-high hydraulic hammer began bashing a 45-foot-tall concrete column into the earth in Jones Point Park, just south of the existing bridge. Though dredging of the Potomac River was completed earlier this year and a wide swath of trees was felled to make way for the new bridge, the pile driving was the first visible evidence that the long-awaited construction project is under way.

Eventually, more than 1,300 similar concrete columns will be driven into the ground in Jones Point Park and into the bottom of the Potomac. Weighing 10 tons each, the pilings will underpin the side-by-side, six-lane drawbridges. The first bridge is to open in 2004, the second two years later.

"This bridge was the most important transportation project for both Maryland and Virginia," said Virginia Transportation Secretary Shirley Ybarra. "We had to figure out a way to get it done." Maryland Transportation Secretary John D. Pocari agreed. "At times, it seemed like we were pushing a rock up a hill," he said. "But I think we can say now we are at the top of the hill."'

The article went on to say that pile driving in Jones Point Park will be limited to 9 AM to 6 PM on weekdays and 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays, with no work allowed on Sundays. A hydraulic pile driver is being used because it is considered quieter than other pile drivers. I went and viewed the construction about a month later, and the pile driver is indeed quiet.

 

Photo of foundations construction on the Virginia overland portion of the bridge, pile driving and foundation forms. The existing WWB is in the background. The silver-colored medallion on the control tower is a profile of Woodrow Wilson's head and shoulders. Photo taken by Mark Bentley of Northern Virginia in February 2002, offered to this website.

 

Click for larger images: Medium (61K), Large (307K).

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Click for larger images: Medium (74K), Large (231K).

Photo of foundations construction on the Virginia overland portion of the bridge, with with placement of foundation forms. The existing WWB is in the background. Photo taken by Mark Bentley of Northern Virginia in February 2002, offered to this website.

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Above, photo of foundations construction on the Virginia overland portion of the new bridge and the portion in the Potomac River. The existing WWB is to the left. Photo taken by Scott Kozel on May 28, 2002, from the top (8th) floor of the now-demolished Hunting Towers apartment building that was next to the Beltway, which was in new right-of-way for the widened Beltway. The white block-like structures are the foundations for the new bridge.


Above, photo of foundations construction on the Virginia overland portion of the new bridge and the portion in the Potomac River. Same vantage point as previous photo, but taken with a 135 mm (2.7x) lens whereas the previous photo was taken with a 50 mm (1.0x) lens.

 

---Main Bridge Contract - Potomac River Bridge (later cancelled)---

The Main Bridge Contract for the Potomac River Bridge is the third and final contract for the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River, and it was advertised on August 14, 2001, with an anticipated bid opening date of October 18, 2001. The estimated cost is $450 million to $500 million, and in conjunction with two earlier contracts ($14.5 million for Initial Dredging and $125 million for Foundations Contract), will provide a new I-95/I-495 twin-span 6,075-foot-long 12-lane bridge with a main span drawbridge with 70 feet of vertical navigational clearance when the drawspans are closed. The anticipated bid opening date was moved back to December 13, 2001, due to delays caused by controversy over whether or not the contract will be negotiated under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA), which is a union agreement, something that Virginia (a right-to-work state) doesn't want and something that Maryland (a union state) does want.

MDOT SHA Contract No.: PG3455173
Description (blue text):
Replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on I-95/495 over the Potomac River. Work includes pile driving and foundation construction for five piers located on the Virginia shoreline and one pier located within the Potomac River. All other pier footings are to be built by others under a previous contract. Complete substructure and superstructure construction for all fixed approach spans, construction of a double leaf bascule drawbridge, operator's tower and all incidental construction as well as roadway lighting, signing and pavement markings. Project also includes complete removal of the existing bridge and minor work within Jones Point Park adjacent to the bridge.

Actions on December 7 and December 12, 2001, resolved the issue about the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project. The Bush administration had been opposed, and FHWA has ruled against the PLA, as seen in the FHWA news release "Federal Highway Administration Denies Maryland Request For Project Labor Agreement on Woodrow Wilson Bridge", December 7, 2001, excerpt follows (blue text):
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today denied a request by the Maryland Department of Transportation to require the use of a project labor agreement (PLA) on the superstructure contract of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project. The FHWA found that Maryland officials had not demonstrated that the proposed PLA met the agency's standards for evaluating PLAs on federally funded projects, nor proven that the proposed PLA would provide the benefits claimed in Maryland's submissions.

Here is the full FHWA document "Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project Labor Agreement Request - Decision".

Definition of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA), from above link:
A PLA is a "pre-hire" collective bargaining agreement that is negotiated between an employer that has control over a particular construction project and a group of unions in order to meet the specific labor needs of that project. The PLA binds all contractors and subcontractors to a variety of provisions. PLAs are typically justified as a way to promote labor-management peace and stability on large construction projects with substantial financial considerations and long-term construction implications. They are also used to obtain the cooperation of organized labor in retaining the workers needed for the construction project.

MDOT SHA had a News Release on December 12, 2001, "Maryland Moves Forward On Next Wilson Bridge Contract". Excerpt follows (blue text):
The Federal Highway Administration has denied a request by the State of Maryland to utilize a project labor agreement (PLA) on the superstructure contract for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement project. Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari issued the following statement regarding the future of the superstructure contract. "Maryland's top transportation priority is ensuring the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project moves forward. We have worked tirelessly to overcome every challenge that has threatened to delay construction.

"While we maintain a project labor agreement (PLA) is one of the most effective management tools for projects of this extraordinary size and scope, the federal government has made it clear that it will not approve a PLA as part of the bid specifications on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement project. We are particularly disappointed that the federal government expects the State to cover cost overruns but has prohibited us from using one of the management tools that would help avoid cost overruns.

"The most important consideration is moving toward the completion of this project in a timely manner and with a minimum of disruption to the lives of the people who use the bridge. The Maryland State Highway Administration will open bids for the superstructure contract as scheduled on Thursday, December 13.

A Baltimore Sun article indicates that Maryland Governor Glendening has decided to end his actions to fight the ruling (such as file suit in federal court). "Governor ends fight on bridge project - Federal opposition prevents union rules; State to open bids for Wilson span replacement Thursday", Baltimore Sun, December 12, 2001, 8:25 PM EST. Excerpt follows (blue text):
Conceding defeat Wednesday, Gov. Parris N. Glendening abandoned his yearlong fight to impose pro-union work rules on the $2.4 billion Woodrow Wilson bridge replacement project. Glendening dropped his push after the Bush administration made clear that it would not provide federal funding for the project if contractors were forced to comply with such labor agreements. Challenging the federal directive would have risked major construction delays. The decision means that a twice-delayed bid opening for the biggest segment of the work can go forward Thursday without a "project labor agreement" (PLA) as part of the contract provisions. Such labor agreements require contractors to follow union work rules and to generally use union workers in exchange for labor peace.

On Thursday, December 13, 2001, the bid opening took place for the Main Bridge Contract - Potomac River Bridge. In a real shocker, there was only one bid, and it was about 75% higher than the engineer's estimate. A Washington Post article, "Wilson Bridge Bid Called 'Budget Buster'", Friday, December 14, 2001, gives the details, excerpts follow (blue text):
The only contractor to bid on building the two spans of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge said yesterday that the job would cost almost $860 million -- 75 percent more than the highest earlier estimates. Maryland engineers in charge of the project said yesterday that they have no choice but to either redesign the bridge or repeat their request for bids, hoping to attract competitors. But either step would throw bridge construction several months behind schedule. With foundation work already underway, the next building phase was set to begin in the spring. State highway officials said they were stunned by the $859.9 million bid by Kiewit, Tidewater & Clark to build the "superstructure" -- the parts of the two six-lane spans above water. Estimates ranged from $450 million to $500 million. Maryland State Highway Administrator Parker F. Williams said state engineers could not remember a bid ever coming in so high above estimates.

Maryland is responsible for building the bridge and must pay for any cost overruns on it. Members of Congress have said repeatedly that the project will not get more than $1.5 billion in federal money. Maryland and Virginia have each promised to pay $200 million. The total project, including rebuilding four interchanges, was estimated to cost $2.4 billion. "This is a budget buster, absolutely," said John Undeland, a spokesman for the bridge project. "This is way outside the bounds of the financial plan."

Even though this contract did not require such a labor agreement, some contractors said that even talk of one so close to a bid deadline could have prevented more companies from bidding.

Here is the bid that was received:

Thursday, December 13, 2001 12 Noon
CONTRACT#: PG3455173
DESCRIPTION: REPLACEMENT OF BRIDGE NO. 16173000 ON I-95/I-495
OVER POTOMAC RIVER (WOODROW WILSON)
CONTRACTOR: Kiewit/Tidewater/Clark, Park Ridge, NJ
BID AMOUNT: $859,954,042.00

The Main Bridge Contract - Potomac River Bridge, was cost estimated at $450 million to $500 million. MDOT SHA only got one bid, and it was for almost $860 million. Now let's see if MDOT SHA awards the contract, or if they re-bid it. If they award, it will certainly bust the estimate for the whole WWB program.

On Saturday, December 15, 2001, there is still no news release about the bid opening on either the MDOT SHA website or the WWB official project website; but a Washington Post article was published, "Md. Detects Bloat in Bid For Wilson Bridge Job - Many Items' Prices Surpass Estimates", Washington Post, Saturday, December 15, 2001, excerpts follow (blue text):
The lone bid to build a new Woodrow Wilson Bridge was almost twice as high as predicted because the contractor used sharply inflated prices, according to Maryland engineers who have analyzed the document.

[Maryland Transportation Secretary] Porcari said the state will try to negotiate a cheaper price on the bid but is more likely to reject it and seek more competitive proposals, perhaps by breaking the project into smaller chunks. Construction was scheduled to begin in spring 2002 but will be delayed at least five months, highway officials said.

Such controversy [about the PLA] could have led to the high bid and scared away other competitors, said Ken Kobetsky, chief engineer for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, a trade group for state highway departments.

Critics of the PLA have certainly argued that is the case. In any event, the bid seems horrifically high. The contracting community may believe that is what the job should cost, and the one bidder is the exact same contractor consortium that is building the WWB Foundations Contract; perhaps they really and truly think that it should cost that much; but I think that it should be re-bid in the new environment where the PLA has definitely been ruled out by FHWA with Glendening having conceded defeat on the issue. Re-advertisment for bids will two to three months before the new bids can be received and re-opened, unfortunately.

Some critics of the PLA have a suspicion that the PLA on the WWB was really a Glendening effort to win publicity and fan the flames of controversy with Virginia generally, and Gov. Jim Gilmore in particular. But this was a controversy that was useless, and a waste of time. MDOT SHA's staff didn't even mention the PLA to anyone in Virginia before announcing it to the media. Virginia is a "right to work" state, meaning it has laws that allow workers to unionize, but forbids the union to have a union shop (make membership in the union local mandatory for that job class); qualified non-union workers have the "right to work" alongside of unionized workers. So unions have not nearly the power there as compared to the states (including Maryland) that allow unionization with the union shop. Virginia's state government had zero interest in negotiating a PLA with trade unions on the WWB project, and Maryland's officials had to have known that in advance of this controversy. While it is technically correct to say that the Potomac River Bridge contracts are being fully administered by MDOT SHA, they are part of a 7-mile program of Beltway expansion needed to match the width of the new bridge, all of which is in one FHWA/VDOT/MDOT funding agreement for state and federal highway funds; and 1/3 of the WWB is overland in Virginia; so in my opinion, it was folly for Maryland to attempt to unilaterally negotiate a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on an inter-state federal-aid highway project in Maryland and Virginia, without Virginia's concurrence.

From Encyclopedia.com, "Closed shop and open shop": (excerpts in blue text):
The term "closed shop is used to signify an establishment employing only members of a labor union. The union shop, a closely allied term, indicates a company where employees do not have to belong to a labor union when hired but are required to join within a specified period of time in order to keep their jobs. An open shop, strictly speaking, is one that does not restrict its employees to union members.

In 1947 the Taft-Hartley Labor Act declared the closed shop illegal and union shops were also prohibited unless authorized in a secret poll by a majority of the workers; it was amended (1951) to allow union shops without a vote of the majority of the workers. Thereafter, a campaign was begun by business leaders in certain industries to have so-called right-to-work laws enacted at the state level. More than one third of the states passed such laws, the effect being to declare the union shop illegal.

Information published in the December 24, 2001, edition of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine. The article is "Lone Woodrow Wilson Bridge Bid Comes In 70% Above Estimate". ENR is primarily oriented toward the construction industry, and they have some interesting insights stemming from that perspective. The article had these excerpts (blue text):
At the Dec. 13 opening, a team of Kiewit Construction Co., Tidewater Construction Corp. and Clark Construction Group Inc. filed the only bid for two, six-lane bascule spans across the Potomac River and demolition of the existing 40-year-old drawbridge. Based on pre-bid scuttlebutt, State Highway Administrator Parker F. Williams wasn't surprised that he got just one offer. The price was the shocker: $859.95 million, or some $360 million above the state's estimate. "Nobody could have expected...that the bid was going to be this high," he says. Williams says the agency can "reject all bids and rebid" or can try to negotiate a lower price in a sole-bid scenario.

Several contractors bought documents but didn't bid. "Resource-wise, we didn't feel the timing was right for us to tackle a project of that magnitude," says Doug Sickle, Balfour Beatty Construction Inc.'s eastern division manager. In three or four months from now, "we would be in better position to bid, but not now," he says. Pittsburgh-based Dick Corp. cites more than $200 million in other highway jobs to bid in December. "If the project would have advertised in October for a January or February bid, we might have followed up on it," says Bob Spekis, vice president of Dick's bridge and highway division. He says the Wilson job would have tied up Dick's estimating department for weeks.

But a possible PLA caused Cianbro Corp., Pittsfield, Maine, to hold off. President and CEO Pete Vigue says his open-shop firm doesn't sign PLAs. FHWA's ruling came too close to the opening for Cianbro to set up a team and prepare a bid. Several days "is not enough [for] a project of that size," Vigue says. If the project is rebid without a PLA, "we're very interested," he says. Vigue says the firm is interested in the possibility of dividing the job into smaller contracts.

The ENR article said that Maryland highway officials are scrambling to figure a "Plan B" in the aftermath of this single extremely high bid for the main contract for the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge. It reiterates the points made from other articles that I have cited, that meeting the $2.4-billion WWB program target hinges on bringing in the superstructure contract at around $500 million; that the federal government allocated $1.5 billion, Maryland and Virginia each pledged $200 million and will cover "additional costs incurred in each state." The article also mentions the whole PLA (Project Labor Agreement) brouhaha. If the ENR reporting is correct, then it sounds like two contractors were interested in bidding on this project, but didn't bid because of the timing of this project versus other ongoing projects of theirs; and that one contractor (Cianbro Corp.) would be interested in bidding on this project, but didn't bid specifically because of the presence of the PLA, and would most definitely be interested in bidding on this project if it is rebid without the PLA. Cianbro Corp. was the contractor for the innovative Woodrow Wilson Bridge Redecking in 1983, and is skilled in constructing large bridge projects, so I think it will be interesting to see this project rebid.

On Saturday, January 12, 2002, I can report some new information, actually an MDOT SHA news release from Dec. 21, 2001 -- an engineer in the D.C. area pointed me to it -- I didn't see it before because I always go to the main MDOT website for news releases, and the official WWB website didn't have it either -- it is on the SHA website. It came out just 8 days after the bid opening. MDOT SHA had a news release on December 21, 2001, "Maryland And Federal Officials Working To Keep The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project On Track". Excerpts follow (blue text):
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration, along with the Federal Highway Administration, is evaluating the single bid submitted for the superstructure contract for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which was approximately 75 percent over the engineer's estimate. The joint venture of Kiewit, Tidewater and Clark submitted a bid price of $859.9 million for the estimated $450-500 million project. As part of this evaluation, state and federal officials will use an independent review committee of engineers and construction industry professionals. The committee, headed by Tom Warne, President, Tom Warne and Associates, will help evaluate the factors that inhibited competition and resulted in bid prices far in excess of the estimate.

SHA is evaluating how to gain additional competition and reduced bid prices. The current options being considered are negotiating with the sole bidder, repackaging the bid documents into smaller contracts, value engineering (where the same end result is achieved by using more economical materials or methods), and other changes to the bid package that could result in more competition and reduced cost. The State expects to take the information from the committee, its own research and consultation with partners into consideration and to develop a range of options by late January with an action plan by mid-February.

So by mid-February 2002, according to the MDOT SHA news release, a major decision will be made as to how to proceed in the aftermath of the lone and extremely high bid on the Main Bridge Contract - Potomac River Bridge. This Dec. 21, 2001 news release is the only official news release since the Dec. 13, 2001 bid opening.

On February 17, 2002, I can report some new information. The huge, sole bid for the Main Bridge Contract - Potomac River Bridge, which was opened on December 13, 2001, has been officially rejected. The Independent Review Team is still evaluating what action to take next, and plan to have a recommendation in March.

Excerpt from WWB official website, Bridge Contracts, (blue text):
Superstructure Contract - PG3455173. Bid rejected. Letter from FHWA Division Administrator, Mr. Nelson Castellanos to Maryland State Highway Administrator, Mr. Parker Williams dated January 28, 2002. FHWA and MDSHA are currently working together to resolve the issues associated with the single bid received for this contract.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch had an article on February 14, 2002, "Md. rejects bridge bid - It topped target; March update due", about the bid rejection. Excerpts follow (blue text):
Maryland transportation officials have turned down the lone bid to rebuild the superstructure of the new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, saying the $860 million price tag was too high. Only one contractor bid on the project last year to build the above-water sections of two spans over the Potomac River between Alexandria, Va., and Oxon Hill. But the bid from the joint venture Kiewit, Tidewater and Clark was much more than the $450 million to $500 million the state expected to pay. The bid was turned down earlier this month, according to state highway spokeswoman Valerie Burnette Edgar. State planners are expected to decide next month whether to rebid the project or break the contract into smaller pieces to try to make it less expensive. Kiewit spokesman Gerald Pfeffer said the contractor will decide whether to rebid on the project after the state comes up with a new plan for the bridge contract.

On March 3, 2002, I can report some new information. A Washington Post article was published, "Bidding on Wilson Bridge Under Investigation", on Saturday, March 2, 2002; excerpts follow (blue text):
Maryland and federal authorities are examining why the state received only one bid to build the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge's twin spans -- for $373 million over budget -- a Maryland lawmaker and two top state officials said yesterday. Maryland officials also announced that they hope to control the bridge's escalating price and limit the lengthening delays by rebidding the building in smaller chunks. That should draw more competition and drive down the price, the officials said. The problems with the unexpectedly high bid already will delay the new spans' completion by up to nine months, said Parker Williams, head of the Maryland State Highway Administration. Williams also said a review panel appointed by the highway administration has found that, while the lone bid was too high, the project engineers' cost estimates were too low. The panel did not say how far off the estimates were but said the $487 million budget for the building didn't take into account "unknown market factors" that could drive up costs.

A Baltimore Sun article was published, "Officials rethink bidding on Wilson bridge project", Baltimore Sun, Saturday, March 2, 2002; excerpts follow (blue text):
State officials briefed legislators yesterday on preliminary findings of an independent committee charged with finding out why only one bid was received and the reasons it came in so far above expectations. Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari said the committee concurred that the consortium's bid was too high, but added that they also believed that the state's estimate was too low because engineers did not take into account "intangible" factors. He said interviews with major contractors who did not bid revealed that some hesitated because of the tight deadlines and potential penalties for delays, the size of the contract, questions about which government entity would ultimately be accountable, and the lure of competing projects, including the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge project. He said the department is considering rebidding the project in three or more parts to attract smaller contractors, create more competitive bidding and lower the cost. "The idea would be to get it down into segments that could cost $200 million or less so that you can get some additional contractors interested," said Parker F. Williams, head of the State Highway Administration.

Officials estimated that the rebidding could mean six to nine months of delays, but added that those delays might be offset by including incentives in the new contract for completing the work ahead of schedule.

So it looks to me like MDOT SHA will divide up the Main Bridge Contract - Potomac River Bridge, into several smaller contracts, $200 million or less for each, and then advertise them for bids. There is also some discussion into official investigation into the possibility of bid collusion among contractors, but it is stated that there is no evidence of that.

On March 16, 2002, I can report some new information. The Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, Independent Review Committee Report, was completed by consultants and released by the WWB Project Coordination Committee on March 12, 2002. You can access the link above for the full .pdf document report. Here is the Summary (blue text):

Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge
Independent Review Committee Report
Summary

The Independent Review Committee (IRC) offers the Maryland State Highway Administration a variety of options that can be pursued in an effort to advance the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project. The options vary from very modest changes in contract language, making the project more inviting to the contracting community, to very complex engineering modifications. In the end, most of the individual options can be implemented independent of any of the other ideas offered.

There are several constraints that will dictate the use of the options offered in this report. They include the commitments made through the environmental process leading to the Record of Decision (ROD) signed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). It is clear that the commitments made in that process are extensive and, in many ways, very restrictive in their impact on the construction of the bridge structure itself.

Another area where commitments were made that impact the opportunity to implement these options can be referred to as community obligations. These include noise, work hour and truck routing restrictions that are in place as a consequence of the requirements from the City of Alexandria. It is clear from the inputs from the contractors that there are significant impacts to the construction schedule and cost as a result of these commitments. They further limit how some of the options in this report can be implemented.

The commitments made through the design competition result in some limitation of the options available from an engineering standpoint. If its decided to constrain the engineering options based on these commitments then the design options will be rather modest given the constraints agreed to as a result of the design competition.

Time is also a constraint that must be addressed in the "go forward" environment. What is the urgency of returning to the market with a bid package for the project? If it is imperative for the project to be back in the market in 2002 then there is a limited list of options available to the Maryland State Highway Administration. Each decision made in going forward carries with it a trade-off in both time and money.

On the other hand, if it is decided that re-advertising the contract can wait until some time in 2003, the options available increase significantly along with the potential savings to the contract. In this scenario you not only have the short term options available but also the longer lead time options like some of the re-design issues. In the end, it will be up to the Maryland State Highway Administration to determine how the tradeoffs must be dealt with. It is clear that the largest savings to the project would be achieved by pursuing the long lead time options.

There are several options available for re-packaging the contract. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages that must be carefully considered. All three have a common goal of increasing competition and maximizing the number of bidding teams.

The IRC feels that it is very unlikely that the bridge as designed can be constructed within the current budget. The engineer's estimate was impacted by the many issues brought to light through the contractor interviews and other external factors, over which they had no control, such as the bidding on the San Francisco Bay Bridge at the same time. However, most of the IRC members believe the lone bid was not the market price for this project.

Since it can be very costly to prepare a bid, contractors will want some degree of assurance that a contract will be awarded before they make the business decision to commit the resources to prepare a bid. The owners must market the project to the contracting community to ensure the maximum participation possible from the contracting community.

In the end, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge must be built. The IRC believes that the MD SHA should move ahead as soon as it is practicable and after considering the options offered in this report. The options available to the Maryland State Highway Administration vary depending on how soon the re-bid package is released. While there is pressure to move back to the market as soon as possible, it is clear that many of the most substantial options are only available if a period of 12 months or more is used to modify the contract and its design.
[end of quoted Summary]

So it looks like the Independent Review Committee (comprised of civil engineers, engineering consultants, and construction professionals) has spent a lot of time preparing a menu of options and recommendations, which might advance the "Main Bridge Contract - Potomac River Bridge" fairly quickly, or might delay it until 2003.

A Baltimore Sun article was published, "State may lower requirements for Wilson Bridge bidders", Saturday, March 13, 2002; excerpts follow (blue text):
Maryland officials are considering reducing the performance bond and minority participation requirements for contractors on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement project in order to attract more bidders for the job. Those items are among issues listed in a report released yesterday that explains why the state received only one bid for the project.

An eight-member committee of construction experts analyzing the bid, found contractors chose not to bid primarily because of a competing project on the San Francisco Bay Bridge, union work requirements and other issues. But contract revisions could help lure them when it is rebid in coming months, the committee said. The state would incur little risk by cutting the bond requirement in half, according to the committee. The state also might reduce the 25 percent minority participation requirement. On large projects, 10 percent is typical. State Highway Administrator Parker Williams also is considering breaking the project into several jobs to appeal to smaller contractors.

The March 11, 2002, edition of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine has an article, "Wilson Lone Bid Under Scrutiny". ENR is primarily oriented toward the construction industry, and they have some interesting insights stemming from that perspective. The article had these excerpts (blue text):
The superstructure is the largest piece of the $2.4-billion project, which includes four big interchange upgrades. Maryland retained an outside panel led by former Utah DOT chief Tom Warne to recommend ways to rebid the job. Williams says the state wants more contractor competition. Plans still call for two parallel six-lane bascule spans. But the state is deciding among three contract options the panel recommended. They are:

A single contract for the outer six-lane span, with proposals also allowed for the inner span.
Three contracts; one for the bascule portions; one for the outer bridge's over-water segment, with bids also permitted for the inner span's over-water portion; and one for the outer bridge's over-land section, with bids allowed for the inner span over-land portion.
Two contracts; one for both bascule portions and one for the outer bridge's non-bascule sections, with bids also allowed for the inner bridge's over-land and over-water portions.

Porcari says the state will decide "within several weeks, at the outside," which option it will pick. He released a summary of the outside panel's report, which said the Kiewit-Tidewater-Clark bid "was too high." It said the state estimate was "technically solid...based on the tangible factors like the cost of steel, concrete and other materials." But it said the state didn't adequately factor in such "intangibles" as higher-than-estimated bids on other recent bridge projects and the Wilson job's demand for specialized equipment.

Porcari says the panel found that inclusion of a Wilson bridge project labor agreement provision, deleted after the Federal Highway Administration objected, did not have a major effect on the lack of bidders.

I would disagree with Porcari's last statement about the PLA, for reasons that I have detailed earlier in my WWB article.

On June 21, 2002, I can report some new information. A decision has been made by MDOT SHA, FHWA and the WWB Design Center as to how to reconfigure the Main Bridge Contract - Potomac River Bridge. It will be divided into three separate contracts and the three contracts will be advertised for bids soon, with the contract for the bascule spans to be advertised July 2, 2002.

The WWB Project Design Center had a news release, Maryland Moves Forward on Wilson Bridge Construction, on June 20, 2002. The article had these excerpts (blue text):
The Maryland Department of Transportations State Highway Administration (SHA) is moving Woodrow Wilson Bridge construction forward with a July 2 advertisement of the drawspan portions of the twin bridges, for both the inner and outer loops of the Capital Beltway. Bids from contractors will be due November 7. SHA recently received approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the re-advertisement plan and the engineering package for the drawspans contract. Last year, SHA advertised the entire superstructure essentially all aspects of the bridge above the foundation footings as one large contract, with an estimated value of $450 to 500 million. A single bid that was more than 75 percent over the estimate was submitted on December 13, which was subsequently rejected.

In order to generate more competition, SHA is dividing the project into three pieces the drawspans, the Maryland approaches over water and the Virginia approaches over land. Breaking the superstructure work into smaller contracts both will enlarge the pool of potential bidders able to compete for the work and minimize the need for joint ventures of firms. Construction of the drawspans should begin by spring 2003, helping to keep the critical bridge replacement close to the original schedule. This contract is the first to be advertised because the drawspan portions are the most time-consuming part of the bridge to build and therefore need to be started as early as possible. The estimate for the drawspans contract is between $140 and $170 million. SHA plans to advertise the remaining two bridge contracts in October, with bids due in mid-February.

The news release goes on to say that MDOT SHA is marketing the project to contractors with high-profile advertisements in leading trade media and by calling and sending letters to prospective bidders. The estimated completion date for the first bridge (outer loop) is late 2005 and for the second bridge (inner loop) is late 2007 to early 2008. On the WWB project there is a combined contract value exceeding $250 million presently underway. The contract for the bridge foundations (upon which the superstructure elements will be built) is now nearly two-thirds completed.

The June 20, 2002, edition of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine has an article, "In New Plan, Maryland to Advertise Bascule Parts of Wilson Bridge July 2". The article had this excerpt (blue text):
Adopting a new contracting strategy for the main part of the Woodrow Wilson bridge, Maryland's State Highway Administration will advertise three contracts for the bridge superstructure. The first, covering the bascule portions of the twin, six-lane spans, is to appear July 2. In announcing the plan on June 20, State Highway Administrator Parker F. Williams said the state's engineering estimate for the bascule contract ranges from $140 million to $170 million. Bid opening is set for November 7.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Bascule Span Contract has been advertised on July 2, 2002, and the bid opening date will be November 7, 2002.

County: Prince George's
Contract No.: PG3455173R
Project Classification: H
F.A.P. No.: DPWW-M013(33)N
Anticipated Bid Date: November 7, 2002
Funding: Federal Aid
Description: Bascule Span Construction for Replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on I-95/495 (Capital Beltway) over the Potomac River (Contract BR3A). Work includes complete construction, excluding foundations, of a double leaf bascule drawbridge, operator's tower and all incidental construction. Fixed span approaches to the bascule drawbridge are not included in this contract.

Note that this contract is the first of several re-packages contracts that represent the re-advertisement of the previous MDOT Contract No. PG3455173. The remaining two contracts for the approach spans of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (Contracts BR3B and BR3C; MDOT contract numbers not yet assigned) will be advertised for bidding at a later date. All previous contract documents, including all addendums, for Contract No. PG3455173 are now void. All previous purchasers of the contract documents for that contract will be issued one new set of contract documents at no additional charge. Any purchases of additional sets and all new purchasers shall pay the full cost noted above.

Pre-Bid Conference: Will be conducted on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 at 9:00 A.M., local time, at the Best Western Potomac View, located at 6400 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, Maryland 20745, (301-749-9400). Following the pre-bid meeting at 1:00 p.m. at the same location, a contractor's forum will be held to present technical aspects and issues regarding the entire bridge construction project with emphasis on the fabrication, erection, schedule and other topics. General contractors, fabricators and suppliers are invited to attend this forum to learn about the project. All potential bidders are advised that MDOT will not require or prohibit a Project Labor Agreement for this Contract.

On September 2, 2002, I can report some new information.

A Washington Post article was published, "Wilson Bridge Bids Delayed Again", Friday, August 30, 2002; excerpt follows (blue text):
Construction of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge is at least a year behind schedule, and delays could lead to weight restrictions on the decaying span it will replace, project officials said yesterday. Maryland transportation officials said the second round of bidding on construction has been pushed back three more months -- on top of previously announced delays related to the bidding process. Officials hope that by delaying the bidding and restructuring some of the project, they can attract more competitive bids and keep costs from skyrocketing. The end of 2004 was the original target date for opening the first span of the new bridge, said Valerie Burnette Edgar, a spokeswoman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. "Now we're looking at the end of 2005 and possibly early 2006."

The August 30, 2002, edition of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine has an article, "Maryland Extends Bid Timetable For Third Wilson Bridge Contract". The article had these excerpts (blue text):
Maryland's State Highway Administration has decided to stretch out its schedule by several months for bidding the last of its three planned contracts for the superstructure of the new Woodrow Wilson bridge across the Potomac River.

In June, State Highway Administrator Parker Williams said the agency would advertise the other two contracts in October, with bid openings in mid-February, 2003. But at a July 31 pre-bid meeting, contractors were told the state now would advertise in October only the segment stretching from the Virginia side of the river to the draw spans, says Valerie Burnette Edgar, a spokeswoman for SHA. The Virginia portion is mostly over land. Bid opening still would be in February, Edgar says. But the agency now says it will defer advertising the largely over-water portion from the Maryland shore until January 2003, Edgar says. Bids would be due in May.

The article goes on to discuss how MDOT SHA originally advertised the entire bridge superstructure as a single contract, and how officials were shocked when the only bid they received (opened on December 13, 2001), totaled nearly $860 million, more than 70% above the high end of their $450-500 million estimated range for that contract. SHA rejected the bid and then split the job into three contracts, hoping for more bidders and lower bids. SHA originally planned that the first new 6-lane bridge would open in late 2004 or early 2005, but with the latest bidding revision, they are now planning for late 2005 or spring 2006 at the latest.

Cost containment is paramount on the WWB project, since it is already very expensive, and the FHWA has gone on record as saying that they will not provide any more special federal funding beyond that which has already been authorized. So as important as keeping on schedule is for this project, the schedule is second place to cost containment. The contract restructuring will increase the time schedule, but it will hopefully result in bids that will be within the original cost estimate.

On October 15, 2002, I can report some new information.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Virginia Approach Spans Contract has been advertised on October 14, 2002, and the bid opening date will be February 13, 2003.

County: Prince George's
Contract No.: PG5175173
Project Classification: H
Federal Aid Contract No.: DPWW-M013(34)N
Anticipated Bid Date: February 13, 2003
Funding: Federal Aid
Description: Construction of Virginia Approach Spans for the Replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on I-95/I-495 (Capital Beltway) over the Potomac River (Contract BR3B). Work includes complete construction of approximately 2200 linear feet of dual fixed approach spans for the western (Virginia) end of the bridge, including foundations, substructure, superstructure and incidental construction. Some of the substructure will be built on foundations constructed under a previous contract. The majority of the abutment at the western terminus of the bridge, as well as the entire bascule spans, and all of the eastern (Maryland) approach span construction, are not included in this contract.

Note that this contract is the second of three re-packaged contracts that represent the re-advertisement of the previous MDOT Contract No. PG3455173 (Contract BR3). The first contract, for the construction of the bascule spans (Contract BR3A, Contract No. PG3455173R) has already been advertised. The remaining contract for the Maryland approach spans of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (Contract BR3C; MDOT Contract Number PG5155173) will be advertised for bidding at a later date. All previous purchasers of the contract documents for previous Woodrow Wilson Bridge contracts (i.e., BR3 or BR3A) will be issued one new set of contract documents at no additional charge. Any purchases of additional sets and all new purchasers shall pay the full cost noted above.

Pre-Bid Conference: Will be conducted on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 at 10:00 A.M., local time, at the Best Western Potomac View, located at 6400 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, Maryland 20745, (301-749-9400).

All potential bidders are advised that MDOT will not require or prohibit a Project Labor Agreement for this Contract.

On November 7, 2002, I can report some new information.

MDOT SHA has opened bids on two large contracts.

There were five bids received on an I-295 interchange contract:
Thursday, October 31, 2002 12 Noon
Contract # PG3475173
Description: Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project - I-95/I-495/I-295 Interchange - Outer Loop Local and National Harbor Interchange Reconstruction.

G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., York, PA
$45,352,638.70

Cherry Hill Construction, Inc., Jessup, MD
$46,188,938.92

Archer Western Contractors, Ltd., Richmond, VA
$46,402,220.02

Allan A. Myers, LP, Worchester, PA
$46,988,023.10

Facchina Construction Company, Inc., LaPlata, MD
$49,494,261.95

There were five bids received on the Potomac River Bridge - Bascule Span Contract (source - MDOT SHA):
Thursday, November 07, 2002  12 Noon
Contract #  PG3455173R
Description: Bascule Span Construction for Replacement the Woodrow Wilson  Bridge on I-95/I-495 (Capital Beltway) Over Potomac River.

American Bridge/Edward Kraemer & Sons, Coraopolis, PA
$185,919,836.20
Cianbro/Weeks, Pittsfield, ME
$221,263,099.53
Tidewater Skanska/Traylor, Virginia Beach, VA
$241,958,000.00
Perini/Tutor-Saliba/O&G, Hawthorne, NY
$242,276,788.10
FruCon/Cleveland Bridge, Ballwin, MO
$244,740,556.60

The low bidder on this contract and the low bidder on the I-295 interchange contract whose bids were opened 10-31-2002, from the standpoint of the middle of the estimate range, have combined values that are below the budgeted estimate ($247.5 million estimate, $231 million low bids).

I-295 interchange contract
Estimated Cost:  $85 million to $100 million ($2001)
Low bidder:  $45,352,638.70

WWB bascule span contract
Estimated Cost:  $140 million to $170 million ($2002)
Low bidder:  $185,919,836.20

This is good news!

The November 8, 2002, edition of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine has an article, "American Bridge-Kraemer Team Apparent Low Bidder on Wilson Bridge Drawspan". The article had these excerpts (blue text):
A joint venture of American Bridge Co., Coraopolis, Pa., and Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., Plain, Wisc., is the apparent low bidder to build the bascule portion of the new Woodrow Wilson bridge across the Potomac River. The American Bridge-Kraemer bid was $185.9 million, or 11% above the Maryland State Highway Administration's $168-million engineers' estimate, but SHA Administrator Parker Williams indicated it was in the acceptable range. After proposals were opened Nov. 7 in Baltimore, he said, "I think we've got a workable bid here."

The bridge is the centerpiece of a $2.44-billion project that also includes two major Capital Beltway interchange upgrades on each side of the river. The new crossing would replace the existing 40-year-old Wilson bridge, which has been battered by much higher traffic volumes than originally envisioned.

The contract includes building the bascule sections of both of the parallel, six-lane spans, as well as constructing the bridge operator's tower and demolishing the drawspan on the current six-lane bridge.

Although the drawspan bid is $17.9 million above Maryland's estimate, Williams says the state is about 4% below its total budget to date, because nine of the state's 10 other contacts awarded so far on the Wilson project have come in below estimates.

Williams said that state highway officials will review the bid and hope to make an award by January, and that a notice to proceed would come in March.

On January 11, 2003, I can report some new information.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Maryland Approach Spans Contract has been advertised on January 6, 2003, and the bid opening date will be May 1, 2003.

County: Prince George's
Contract No.: PG5155173
Project Classification: H
Federal Aid Contract No.: DPWW-M013(18)N
Anticipated Bid Date: May 1, 2003
Funding: Federal Aid
Description: Construction of Maryland Approach Spans for the Replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on I-95/I-495 (Capital Beltway) over the Potomac River (Contract BR3C). Work includes complete construction of approximately 3,300 linear feet of dual fixed approach spans for the eastern (Maryland) end of the bridge, including foundations (one pier and entire abutment), substructure, superstructure and incidental construction. The majority of the pier substructures will be built on foundations constructed under a previous contract. The entire bascule spans, and the entire western (Virginia) approach span construction, are not included in this contract.

Note that this contract is the third and final of three re-packaged contracts that represents the re-advertisement of the previous MDOT Contract No. PG3455173 (Contract BR3). The first two contracts, for the construction of the bascule spans (Contract BR3A, Contract No. PG3455173R) and the Virginia approach spans (Contract BR-3B, Contract No. PG5175173) have already been advertised. All previous purchasers of contract documents for any of these previous Woodrow Wilson Bridge contracts (i.e., BR3, BR3A, and BR3B) will be issued one new set of contract documents for this contract at no additional charge. Any purchases of additional sets and all new purchasers shall pay the full cost noted above.

Pre-Bid Conference: Will be conducted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 at 10:00 A.M., local time, at the Best Western Potomac View, located at 6400 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, Maryland 20745, (301-749-9400).

So, now on the new Potomac River Bridge, the Foundations Contract is nearing completion, the Bascule Span Contract has had bids received, and the two remaining bridge contracts (Virginia and Maryland approach spans) are being advertised.

On February 16, 2003, I can report some new information.

On February 4, 2003, MDOT SHA issued the Notice To Proceed on Bridge Contract 3A - Bascule Spans, Bascule Piers, portion of Superstructure and Operator's Tower, to the joint venture American Bridge/Edward Kraemer & Sons, Coraopolis, PA, for the $185,919,836.20 contract that was awarded to them.

On February 13, 2003, MDOT SHA opened bids on Bridge Contract 3B - Virginia Approach Spans.

On February 14, 2003, VDOT issued the Notice To Proceed on Contract 4 - US Route 1 Tie-In Contract. See the US-1 interchange portion of my article.

There were seven bids received on the Potomac River Bridge - Virginia Approach Span contract:
Thursday, February 13, 2003 12 Noon
Contract # PG5175173
Description:
Construction of Virginia Approach Spans for the Woodrow Bridge on I-95/I-495 Over the Potomac River (Contract BR-3B).    
Virginia Approach Constructors, Watsonville, CA
$115,505,592.00
Archer Western Contractors, Richmond, VA
$117,067,449.10
Trumbull Corporation, West Mifflin, PA
$119,065,913.41
Cianbro/Weeks, Pittsfield, MD
$129,420,988.85
Tidewater Skanska/Lane, Virginia Beach, VA
$130,868,065.00
Fru-Con Construction Corporation, Ballwin, MO
$136,014,950.00
Facchina Construction Company, LaPlata, MD
$157,963,876.12


It looks like MDOT SHA got some good competition, with seven qualified
contractors bidding. The estimated cost before the bid opening was $130 million to $160 million ($2002), so the lowest bid came in well below that.

MDOT SHA had a news release on February 13, 2003, "Maryland Hails Woodrow Wilson Bridge Contract Result". Excerpts follow (blue text):
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration (SHA) opened bids today on the second of three contracts to build the superstructure of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Of seven bidders, the apparent low bid was $115,505,592 submitted by Virginia Approach Constructors, a joint venture of Granite Construction Company of Watsonville, California and Corman Construction of Annapolis Junction, Maryland.
 
The bid is 27.8 percent below the engineers' estimate of $160 million. The "Virginia approach" contract covers construction of the bridge from the abutment in Virginia to the drawspan just off the Alexandria shore. The job will build seven of the new bridge's 18 spans, six of which are on land in Alexandria's Jones Point Park. The successful bidding of the Virginia approach work marks an important milestone for the project. Bids on the final bridge contract, building the bridge abutment in Maryland and the 10 spans in the river that approach the drawspan, are due May 1.
 
Building the bridge's foundations has been underway since July 2001, and the contract is now more than 90 percent completed. All of the foundation "pedestals," upon which the Virginia approach superstructure will be built, are completed, as are a large majority of pedestals in the river.


See the above linked news release for a detailed Chronology of Bridge Contracts, and a summary of How Major Contracts are Awarded.

A Washington Post article was published, "Unexpectedly Low Bid Keeps Wilson Bridge Under Budget", on Saturday, March 2, 2002; excerpts follow (blue text):
Maryland highway officials were relieved yesterday when the lowest bid to build one of the costliest parts of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge came in $45 million under estimates, a sign that the massive project has not soared over budget. State engineers had anxiously awaited the proposals to build the bridge's western section -- from the draw spans to the Virginia-side abutment in Alexandria's Jones Point Park -- as an indication of whether the $2.56 billion project was headed for huge cost overruns. State officials requested new bids on smaller chunks of the project, hoping to elicit more competition after the lone bid to build the entire bridge came in $360 million over budget.

Yesterday's apparent low bid of $115.5 million -- well below the estimates of $160 million -- will keep the project's overall costs for work awarded so far to 8 percent below budget, bridge officials said. "We're pleased," said a beaming Bob Douglass, project director for Maryland's bridge-building contracts.

The first such contract -- to build the draw spans -- was awarded in January. It was $18 million over estimates, a price that bridge officials said was close enough to stay under budget.

The Virginia-side contract will cover everything above water, including the arch-shaped concrete piers, steel girders, 12 lanes of asphalt, signs and lighting. Construction on the Virginia portion is scheduled to begin in April, and work on the draw spans could be underway this month, said project spokesman John Undeland. The concrete foundations are 90 percent complete.


As the article says, the low bid went to a joint venture of California-based Granite Construction Inc. and Corman Construction Inc. of Annapolis Junction, Maryland. This bid opening was for the Virginia Approach Spans contract, and the Bascule Spans contract was awarded in January. The Foundations Contract is 90% complete. Also, with only the Maryland Approach Spans contract remaining to have bids opened, it looks like the MDOT SHA strategy is paying off, to divide the Potomac River Bridge superstructure contract up into 3 separate contracts.

On May 4, 2003, I can report some new information.

On April 22, 2003, VDOT opened bids on Contract 5 at the US-1 Interchange. See the US-1 interchange portion of my article (below).

On April 22, 2003, MDOT SHA issued the Notice To Proceed on Bridge Contract 3B - Virginia Approach Spans.

On May 1, 2003, MDOT SHA opened bids on Bridge Contract 3C - Maryland Approach Spans.

There were four bids received on the Potomac River Bridge - Maryland Approach Span contract:
Thursday, May 1, 2003
Contract# PG5155173
Description: Construction of MD Approach Spans for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on I-95/I-495 (Capital Beltway) over the Potomac River (Contract BR-3C).
Potomac Constructors, LLC, Plain, WI
$191,182,745.93
Fru-Con Construction Corporation, Ballwin, MO
197,511,947.00
Tidewater Skanska/Traylor, Virginia Beach, VA
$203,090,015.60
Maryland Approach Contractors, Pittsfield, ME
$213,278,210.10

It looks like MDOT SHA got some good competition, with four qualified contractors bidding. The estimated cost (on the WWB project website) before the bid opening was $285 million to $320 million ($2003), so the lowest bid came in well below that.

MDOT SHA had a news release on February 13, 2003, "Bids on Largest Bridge Contract Come in Under". Excerpts follow (blue text):
Value of 3 Superstructure Contracts Nearly Equal to Original 2001 Estimate for Single Superstructure Contract.  The apparent low bid on the final and largest contract for building the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge came in at $191 million, which is 25 percent under the budgeted amount of $255 million, reported the Maryland Department of Transportations State Highway Administration (SHA).

With this bid, the cost of the bridge superstructure is $491 million, just slightly higher than the original 2001 estimate of $487 million. "We are extremely pleased with the bids on the superstructure. Our efforts to gain value and competition have paid off," said Neil Pedersen, Acting Administrator of SHA. "We are on budget and on track."

Of four bidders, the apparent low bid was submitted by Potomac Constructors, a joint venture of the American Bridge Company, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Edward Kraemer and Sons, of Plain View, Wisconsin. The cumulative value of all Maryland contracts to date (bridge, landside work, environmental mitigation) will be lower than was originally estimated in the 2001 project financial plan. This positive result is due to 12 of 14 Maryland contracts to date having come in under estimate, with an average under of 13.8 percent.

The Maryland approach contract covers construction of the bridge from the abutment in Maryland to the draw span just off the Alexandria shore. Crossing more than three-quarters of the Potomac River, the job will build 10 of the new bridges 18 spans; the Virginia approach spans are mostly over land.

Building the bridges foundations has been underway since July 2001, and the contract is now nearly completed. The bridge will be built  in the following sequence:
Complete Outer Loop Bridge in late 2005/early 2006 to allow transfer of traffic off the old bridge. Initially, this bridge will carry both Outer and Inner Loop traffic. Six lanes of travel with safety shoulders will replace current six lanes with no functional shoulders.
Complete Inner Loop Bridge in late 2007/early 2008, providing eight lanes for general purpose travel, two lanes for merging/exiting, two lanes for future rail or bus transit or HOV, a local/express lane configuration, safety shoulders and a bike/pedestrian path.

See the above linked news release for a detailed Chronology of Bridge Contracts, and a summary of How Major Contracts are Awarded.

The May 2, 2003, edition of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine has an article, "Apparent Low Bid on Third Wilson Bridge Contract 25% Below Estimate"; excerpt follows (blue text):
A team of American Bridge Co., Pittsburgh, and Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., Plain, Wis., was apparent low bidder on the last of three contracts for the new Woodrow Wilson bridge across the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. All four proposals received by the Maryland State Highway Administration at the May 1 bid opening came in well below the agency's $255-million estimate. The American Bridge-Kraemer venture's bid of $191.2 million was 25% below the state estimate. American Bridge and Kraemer also won the first of the Wilson bridge contracts, awarded on Jan. 31, for the bascule portion of each of the two planned six-lane parallel bridges.

A Washington Post article was published, "Low Bid Brightens Outlook For Bridge", on Friday, May 2, 2003; excerpts follow (blue text):
The lowest bid to build the final piece of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge came in so far below the Maryland engineers' estimate yesterday that state officials said they will consider lowering their predictions for the project's total cost.

The bid to build the eastern portions of the twin six-lane spans -- from east of the drawbridges in the Potomac River to the Maryland shore -- came in at $191 million, or 25 percent below estimate. That helped put the entire program 13 percent below budget, dampening worries about huge cost overruns on one of the most expensive highway projects in the country.

Maryland highway officials had feared that the 7.5-mile Wilson Bridge project might develop enormous cost overruns, as have other mega-projects across the nation. They broke the bridge-building program into three chunks last year hoping to draw more competition after they rejected a lone bid to build the entire bridge for $360 million more than their budget.

That alarmingly high bid prompted bridge officials to raise the project's total estimated cost from $2.4 billion to $2.56 billion. "We're back on track in terms of where the original estimates were," said Neil Pedersen, Maryland's acting highway administrator. "We'll rework [the overall cost estimate] now based on this bid."

As the article said, the lower-than-expected bids are very good news for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project.

Status of all Potomac River Bridge contracts as of July 1, 2003
Bridge Contract 1 - Initial Dredging
Award amount $14.5 million - completed March 10, 2001, at $14.5 million
Bridge Contract 2 - Foundations Contract
Award amount $125.4 million - completed July 1, 2003, at $125.0 million
Bridge Contract 3A - Bascule Spans, Bascule Piers, Portion of
Superstructure and Operator's Tower
Award amount $185.9 million - Notice To Proceed issued February 21, 2003
Bridge Contract 3B - Virginia Approach Spans
Award amount $115.5 million -  Notice To Proceed issued April 22, 2003
Bridge Contract 3C - Maryland Approach Spans
Award amount $191.2 million - Notice to Proceed issued on June 13, 2003

Bridge contracts 3A, 3B and 3C each have a fixed completion date deadline of August 15, 2008. The total awarded contract costs above is $632.5 million for the entire Potomac River Bridge portion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project.

Back in 2001 when the entire superstructure was advertised as a single contract, the WWB project engineers estimated that the entire superstructure of the Potomac River Bridge portion of the project, would cost $450-500 million for construction. Only one bid was received for entire superstructure contract, from a joint venture of Kiewit/Tidewater/Clark (KTC), for $859 million. The project engineers had a Bridge Independent Review Committee Report conducted, and it was decided to divide the superstructure up into three contracts. This reevaluation added about 12 months to the time that it will take to complete the entire Potomac River Bridge, but in my opinion the delay will be well worth getting the bridge built for relatively near the originally estimated cost, rather than it costing over $300 million more than the original estimate.

[End of "Potomac River Bridge" section]

---US Route 1 Interchange Contracts---

See the above link for the official WWB project details for each contract, its description, its estimated cost, its status, and its approximate duration.

There were five bids received on the US Route 1 Tie-In Contract (source - VDOT):
December 17, 2002
Contract No.- 0095-96A-106, B648-50, C504, C511, L802
CORMAN CONSTRUCTION, INC.
$54,634,209.20
SHIRLEY CONTRACTING COMPANY, LLC
$57,463,778.85
R. R. DAWSON BRIDGE COMPANY, LLC
$58,357,618.50
FACCHINA CONSTR. CO., INC.
$59,985,150.79
THE LANE CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION
$61,647,669.50

WWB Construction Program - U.S. Route 1 Interchange
4. US Route 1 Tie-In Contract provides 6-lane tie-in to completed Outer Loop Woodrow Wilson Bridge, thereby transitioning traffic from existing bridge to new outer loop six-lane bridge. Includes reconstruction of Washington Street bridge, urban deck and demolition of 3 Hunting Terrace buildings and 2 office buildings. Construct retaining walls and noise walls; relocate utilities; reconstruct Hunting Towers/Terrace Parking; provide memorial to Freedman's Cemetery. Construction of West Abutment of Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
Contract No.- 0095-96A-106, B648-50, C504, C511, L802
Estimated Cost - $50M to $60M (2002)
Advertisement - September 10, 2002
Showing - October 16, 2002
Bids Opened - December 17, 2002

VDOT issued the Notice To Proceed on the above contract on February 14, 2003, to Corman Construction, Inc., at $54,634,209.20.

VDOT advertised the following contract on February 11, 2003.
Contract 5 - US Route 1 Interchange Contract including Outer Loop Low
Level/High Level Bridges Mainline and Ramp Connections. Project No.
0095-96A-106,C520.
Estimated cost - $40-50 million ($2002)
TIME LIMIT - 6-15-05
Bids to be received - March 25, 2003

There were seven bids received on Contract 5 (US Route 1 Interchange Contract including Outer Loop Low Level/High Level Bridges Mainline and Ramp Connections). (source - VDOT):
April 22, 2003
Contract No.- (F0)0095-96A-106,C520,B626,B627,B628,B629,B631,B632,B633,
B634, B640,B641,B642
R. R. DAWSON BRIDGE COMPANY, LLC
$49,330,393.50
THE LANE CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION
$56,537,874.20
CIANBRO CORPORATION
$56,647,135.69
SHIRLEY CONTRACTING COMPANY, LLC
$56,732,311.35
CORMAN/GRANITE, A JOINT VENTURE
$57,741,479.70
ARCHER WESTERN CONTRACTORS, LTD.
$57,778,237.90
G. A. & F. C. WAGMAN, INC.
$62,979,062.15

WWB Construction Program - U.S. Route 1 Interchange
Contract 5. US Route 1 Interchange Contract including Outer Loop &
Low Level/High Level Bridges Mainline and Ramp Connections.
Project No. - 0095-96A-106,C520
Estimated Cost - $40 to $50 million (2002)
Advertisement - February 11, 2003
Showing - March 4, 2003
Bids Opened - April 22, 2003
Duration - 22 months

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge U.S. Route 1 Interchange Contract 6/7 has been advertised on July 22, 2003, and the bid opening date will be October 29, 2003.

ORDER NO. C34
ROUTE/PCN 95/18138
STATE PROJECT
0095-96A-106,C501,B624,B625,B630,B635,
B636,B637,B638,B639,B643,B644,B645,B646,
B654,B655,B656,B669,B670,B671,B672,L803
FEDERAL PROJECT WWB-V013(033); WWB-V013(034)
COUNTY/CITY NORTHERN VIRGINIA
LENGTH & TYPE I-95/I-495/RTE. 1 INTERCHANGE (VA-6/7)
BEGINNING AT 1.150 Mi. W. of Rte. 1 (Jefferson Davis Hwy.)
ENDING AT Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge
CONTRACTORS WILL BE SHOWN OVER THE WORK
Holiday Inn at Eisenhower Metro Center 2460 Eisenhower Avenue,
Alexandria, Virginia, 08-26-03 10am. There will be 2 Bid Information
meeting on September 3rd & 4th at 10am at the same locations.


This contract is the 8th contract to be let of 9 contracts that comprise the U.S. Route 1 Interchange in the WWB Construction Program, actually the last of the road construction projects, since the last contract will be for mitigation, the Jones Point Park Improvements contract.

WWB Construction Program - U.S. Route 1 Interchange
Contract Description: 6/7 - US Route 1 Interchange Contract including Inner and Outer Loop roadway mainline. Construct remaining bridges and interchange ramps, mainline roadway pavement, ground improvement, noise barriers, drainage systems, utility relocations, traffic systems, signs, roadway lighting and landscaping. Reconstruct and widen US Route 1 from Fort Hunt Road to Huntington Avenue.
Contract No.: 0095-96A-106,C501
Estimated cost: $180 million to $200 million ($2002)
Planned advertisement date: July 22, 2003

The above estimated cost is from the WWB Project website, and it's
a year old.  VDOT's FY2003-2008 Six Year Program estimate is $231,802,000.
SYP entry --
UPC 18138
Project Widen to Add Additional Lanes (Contract VA6 & VA7)
Scope of Work MAJOR WIDENING
Description ROUTE 1 INTERCHANGE:
1.1 km W. Route 1 Interchange -
City of Alexandria/D.C. Corporate Limits
Fund Source DEMO
District Northern Virginia
Program/System Interstate
Length 2.5500 MI
Route 95
Street WWB/RT 1 INTCHG
Estimates & Schedule
Estimated Cost
(Thousands) Schedule
Prelim. Eng. (PE) $42,369 Complete
Right-of-Way (RW) $65,300 Complete
Construction (CN) $231,802 Planned
Total Estimate    $339,471

There were three bids received on November 12, 2003 for Contract 6/7 (US Route 1 Interchange Contract including Inner and Outer Loop roadway mainline, construct remaining bridges and interchange ramps, mainline roadway pavement, ground improvement, noise barriers, drainage systems, utility relocations, traffic systems, signs, roadway lighting and landscaping. Reconstruct and widen US Route 1 from Fort Hunt Road to Huntington Avenue).
(source - VDOT):
Bids Opened November 12, 2003
Project No 0095-96A-106,C501,B624,B625,B630,B635,B636,B637,B638,B639,
B643,B644,B645,B646,B654,B655,B656,B669,B670,B671,B672,L803
Tidewater Skanska, Inc.
$146,577,166.49
Shirley Contracting Co., LLC
$156,293,681.96
Lane/Granit Joint Venture
$173,776,427.36

Each of the "B6xx" job numbers above represents a bridge, so there are 19 bridges to be constructed on this project. This contract is the 8th of 9 contracts that comprise the U.S. Route 1 Interchange in the WWB Construction Program, actually the last of the road construction projects, since the last contract will be for mitigation, the Jones Point Park Improvements contract.

VDOT opened the bids on November 12, 2003 for the final construction project (Contract 6/7) to be awarded on the WWB Project U.S. Route 1 Interchange segment. All the bids are significantly below the engineer's estimate of $231,802,000, so this is more good news for the budget of the WWB Project. The U.S. Route 1 Interchange segment of the project begins about halfway between the US-1 and Telegraph Road interchanges on the Beltway, and ends at the Virginia abutment of the new Potomac River Bridge; so the U.S. Route 1 Interchange segment of the project provides all the Beltway reconstruction needed to fully accommodate the new 12-lane Potomac River Bridge.

The U.S. Route 1 Interchange Contract 6/7 was awarded by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to Tidewater Skanska, Inc., and VDOT issued the Notice to Proceed to the contractor on December 23, 2003. This company is now named Skanska USA.

[End of "US Route 1 Interchange" section]

I-295 Interchange Contracts

MD-210 Interchange Contracts

Telegraph Road Interchange Contracts

See the above links for the official WWB project details for each contract, its description, its estimated cost, its status, and its approximate duration.

**LATEST INFORMATION UPDATE follows**

WWB Construction Program - Telegraph Road Interchange Contracts
Contract Description: VB-2/3/6 - Telegraph Road Interchange. Reconstruct I-95 mainline from the Eisenhower Connector to meet VA6/7 including interchange ramps and bridges over Cameron Run, Telegraph Road and CSX/Southern/WMATA. Utility relocations, noise walls, pedestrian paths, pavement reconstruction, traffic systems, lighting, signage, landscaping and Cameron Run wetland mitigation.
Estimated cost: $225 million ($2005)
Advertisement date: August 28, 2007

The above estimated cost is from the WWB Project website, and it's
from 2005.  VDOT's FY2003-2008 Six Year Program estimate is $273,115,000.

Six Year Program entries --

UPC 18136
Project RTE 95 - WIDEN TO ADD ADDITIONAL LANES
Scope of Work MAJOR WIDENING
Description FROM: 2.10 MILES WEST TELEGRAPH ROAD;
TO: 0.45 MILE EAST TELEGRAPH ROAD
Report Note Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project
Fund Source DEMO
District Northern Virginia
Jurisdiction Alexandria
Program/System Interstate
Length 1.7000 MI
Route 0095
Street WWB/TELEGRAPH
Estimated Cost (Thousands)
Prelim. Eng. (PE)  $22,302
Right-of-Way (RW)   $1,456
Construction (CN) $211,433
Total Estimate    $235,191

UPC 77923
Project RTE 95 - GRADE SEPARATION OF SOUTHERN INTERSECTION
Scope of Work NEW CONSTRUCTION
Description FROM: 0.5 MILE WEST OF I-95/TELEGRAPH ROAD
INTERCHANGE; TO: 0.5 MILE EAST OF
I-95/TELEGRAPH ROAD INTERCHANGE
Report Note Woodrow Wilson Bridge
Jurisdiction Alexandria
Project Length 1.0000 MI
Route 0095
Estimated Cost (Thousands)
Prelim. Eng. (PE)
Right-of-Way (RW)   1,852
Construction (CN)  36,073
Total Estimate    $37,924

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Telegraph Road Interchange VB-2/3/6 was advertised on August 28, 2007, and the bid opening date was to be December 5, 2007.

Order Number K95
Route Number 95
UPC 18136
State Project Number (FO)0095-96A-105,C501,B617,B619,B601,B603,B618,
B621,C503,C514,B620,B622,B672,B673,B674,L805
Federal Project Number WWB-V013(055), WWB-V013(054), WWB-V013(047)
County City FAIRFAX
Project Type/Location RTE. 95/TELEGRAPH RD. INTERCHANGE IMPROVEMENT
Construction Begin Site 2.10 MI. W. TELEGRAPH ROAD
Construction End Site 0.45 MI. E. TELEGRAPH ROAD
Showing Status Yes
Showing Date 10/02/2007
Showing Site 10-2-07, 10 A.M. Holiday Inn, 2550 Eisenhower Ave.,
Alexandria, VA
Expiration Date 06/30/2013
Value $211,433,000

Looking at the bid advertisement, I see that the C-514 roadway project, wihch includes bridge projects B-620, B-622, B-672, B-673, and B-674, is included with the main C-501 and C-503 roadway projects and their bridge projects. C-514 and its bridges is the Southern Interchange Project. The bid advertisement had the construction cost estimate for the main project only, as it exactly matched the construction cost estimate for the main project on the Six Year Program. All the state project numbers were listed for both overall projects. It should have included the $35 million for the Southern Interchange Project, or about $246 million total.

There were four bids received on December 19, 2007 for Contract VB-2/3/6 (Telegraph Road Interchange: Reconstruct I-95 mainline from the Eisenhower Connector to meet VA6/7 including interchange ramps and bridges over Cameron Run, Telegraph Road and CSX/Southern/WMATA. Utility relocations, noise walls, pedestrian paths, pavement reconstruction, traffic systems, lighting, signage, landscaping and Cameron Run wetland mitigation.)
(source - VDOT):
Bids Opened December 19, 2007
Project No (FO)0095-96A-105,C501,B617,B619,B601,B603,B618, B621,C503,C514,B620,B622,B672,B673,B674,L805
CK Constructors, a Joint Venture
$236,393,187.67
Shirley / Lane Joint Venture
$238,871,618.05
Skanska USA Civil Southeast, Inc.
$262,242,263.50
Cherry Hill Construction, Inc.
$281,468,804.767

The Telegraph Road Interchange Contract VB-2/3/6 was awarded by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to CK Constructors, a joint venture of Corman Construction, Inc., and Kiewit Corporation, at $236.4 million, and VDOT issued the Notice to Proceed on February 12, 2008.

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Construction Photos

The following Capital Beltway dot com website article has links to photo articles with detailed descriptions of the construction of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project. All Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project photo articles, including the following photo article directory webpage, are on Capital Beltway dot com. The main Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project article is on Roads to the Future. Both websites are developed by the same author.

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project Photos on Capital Beltway dot com
Last update - June 8, 2008

Capital Beltway dot com is the Capital Beltway projects annex to Roads to the Future.
 

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project Photos - Current - These are current photos posted in small batches to get some of the best photos posted quickly pending the development of a monthly webpage that will include these and many more photos.  (This webpage is currently empty).

Woodrow Wilson Bridge - Photos of Original Bridge - 7 photos of the underside of the bridge on the Virginia land approach.

Here is a photo of the Virginia approach construction, taken by VDOT on June 16, 2005, and posted here by their permission. Click the photo for a large image. This is looking west, showing construction of the Washington Street Urban Deck in Alexandria VA, and the U.S. Route 1 Interchange in the distance. The new highway's retaining walls close to the buildings are complete, and the Washington Street Deck has been completed over the future local and express Beltway Outer Loop roadways. Washington Street is the highway that crosses the Beltway, and its traffic is being maintained during construction over the Beltway. The completed Washington Street Deck will span the entire reconstructed 12-lane Beltway, and the deck will be over  200 feet long and over 200 feet wide, and will carry the 4-lane divided Washington Street with landscaping over the rest of the deck. The noise barriers over 30 feet high, adjacent to the Hunting Towers Apartment buildings, will be completed before this new section of highway opens.

WWB Project Construction Contracts Started to Date

VA-2 - US Route 1 Interchange Ground Improvement, contract awarded to Shirley Contracting Company, LLC, at $34.4 million, Notice to Proceed on December 17, 2001, completed April 30, 2004, at $34.4 million.  Ground Improvement Contract between US Route 1 and Telegraph Road Interchange, VDOT Project No. 0095-96A-106,C503,D651.
Install wick drains and soil cement column ground improvements along I-95 including utility relocation, jack 60-inch pipe, lengthen box culvert, construction roadway embankment and surcharge, MSE walls, pipe protection and underground communication lines.

VA-4 - US Route 1 Interchange Tie-In, contract awarded to Corman Construction, Inc., at $54.6 million, Notice to Proceed on February 14, 2003. US Route 1 Tie-In Contract provides 6-lane tie-in to completed Outer Loop Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Includes reconstruction of Washington Street bridge, urban deck and demolition of 3 Hunting Terrace buildings and 2 office buildings. Construct retaining walls and noise walls; relocate utilities; reconstruct Hunting Towers/Terrace Parking; provide memorial to Freedman's Cemetery. Construction of West Abutment of Woodrow Wilson Bridge. VDOT Project No. 0095-96A-106,C504, C511, B648, B649, B650, L802. Original Specified Completion Date is November 1, 2007.
Reconstruct Washington Street including bridge over I-95; construct Urban Deck; construct retaining walls and noise walls; relocate utilities; reconstruct Hunting Towers/Terrace Site Parking; reconstruct and widen I-95; demolition; provide partial Freedman's Cemetery improvements; move traffic from existing bridge to new outer loop bridge.

VA-5 - US Route 1 Interchange Advanced Bridge, contract awarded to R.R. Dawson Bridge Company, LLC, at $38.4 million, Notice to Proceed on June 15, 2003, completed September 30, 2005, at $39.7 million. US Route 1 Interchange Contract including Outer Loop low level/high level bridges mainline and ramp connections. VDOT Project No. 0095-96A-106,C520, B626, B627, B628, B629, B631, B632, B633, B634, B640, B641, B642.
Construct low-level bridges along Outer Loop on either side of US Rte. 1, numbering B626, B627, B628 (Ramp F), B629, B631 (Ramp I), B633 (Ramp E), and B634. Construct high-level bridges B640 (Ramp C), B641 and B642
.

VA-6/7 - US Route 1 Interchange (Major Portion), contract awarded to Tidewater Skanska, Inc. at $146.6 million, Notice to Proceed on December 23, 2003. US Route 1 Interchange Contract including Inner and Outer Loop roadway mainline. Construct remaining bridges and interchange ramps, mainline roadway pavement, ground improvement, noise barriers, drainage systems, utility relocations, traffic systems, signs, roadway lighting and landscaping. Reconstruct and widen US Route 1 from Fort Hunt Road to Huntington Avenue. VDOT Project No. 0095-96A-106,C501, B624, B625, B630, B635, B636, B637, B638, B639, B643, B644, B645, B646, B654, B655, B656, B669, B670, B671, B672, L803.
Original Specified Completion Date is June 30, 2009.
Construct remaining US Rte. 1 bridges and interchange ramps, mainline roadway pavement, ground improvement, noise barriers, drainage systems, utility relocations, traffic systems, signs, roadway lighting and landscaping. Reconstruct and widen US Route 1 from Fort Hunt Road to Huntington Avenue, including roadway, paving, utility relocation, demolition, traffic systems, lighting and landscaping, HOV ramps construction under later contract.

VB-4 - Telegraph Road Interchange Ground Improvement, contract awarded to Shirley Contracting Company, LLC, at $2.98 million, Notice to Proceed on April 11, 2004, completed February 1, 2006, at $3.26 million.  VA Ground Improvement contract utilizing wick drain soil consolidation, excavation, use of lightweight backfill, utility relocation and storm drainage. VDOT Project No. 0095-96A-105,C504.
Wick drain soil consolidation, excavation, use of lightweight backfill, utility relocation and storm drain.

VB-5 - Telegraph Road Interchange Advance Utility Relocation, contract awarded to Shirley Contracting Company, LLC, at $17.2 million, Notice to Proceed on August 15, 2005. Telegraph Road advance utilities, relocate utilities, building demolition, rough grade for Burgundy Rd. VDOT Project No. 0095-96A-105, C512. Current Specified Completion Date is January 26, 2007.
Advanced utility relocation, including electrical and telephone duct bank, communication and CATV lines, gas line, water line, and sanitary sewer line alignments; work to include microtunneling, open trenching, jack and bore; storm drain pump station, box culverts, retaining walls, building demolition.

VB-2/3/6 - Telegraph Road Interchange, contract awarded to CK Constructors, a joint venture of Corman Construction, Inc., and Kiewit Corporation, at $236.4 million, Notice to Proceed on February 12, 2008. Reconstruct I-95 mainline from the Eisenhower Connector to meet VA-6/7 including interchange ramps and bridges over Cameron Run, Telegraph Road and CSX/Southern/WMATA. Utility relocations, noise walls, pedestrian paths, pavement reconstruction, traffic systems, lighting, signage, landscaping and Cameron Run wetland mitigation. VDOT Project No. 0095-96A-105, C501, C503, B601-603, B617-623, D605, D607, D609-616, L805. Current Specified Completion Date is June 30, 2013.
Reconstruct I-95 mainline from the Eisenhower Connector to meet VA-6/7 and the Southern Interchange, including interchange ramps A, A1, A2, B, C, D, E, F, G, L, H, H1, including bridges over Cameron Run, Telegraph Road, CSX/Southern/WMATA, utility relocations, noise walls, pedestrian paths, pavement reconstruction, traffic systems, lighting, sineage, landscaping, and Cameron Run Wetland Mitigation.

BR-1 - Potomac River Bridge Initial Dredging, contract awarded to Weeks Marine, Inc., at $14.5 million, Notice to Proceed on October 20, 2000, completed on March 10, 2001, at $14.5 million. MDOT SHA Project No. PG 3405173.
Initial Dredging (323,000 cubic yards), Disposal at Weanack site.

BR-2 - Potomac River Bridge Foundations, contract awarded to Tidewater/Kiewit/Clark, at $125.4 million, Notice to Proceed on May 17, 2001, completed on July 1, 2003, at $125.0 million. Foundation contract excludes VA and MD abutment. MDOT SHA Project No. PG 3415173.
Foundations, 100% Outer Loop, 75% Inner Loop, (also includes 103,900 cubic yards of dredging).

BR-3A - Potomac River Bridge Bascule Spans, contract awarded to American Bridge/Kraemer, at $185.9 million, Notice to Proceed on February 21, 2003. Bascule Spans, Bascule Piers, portion of Superstructure and Operator's Tower. MDOT SHA Project No. PG 3455173R. Original specified contract completion date is August 15, 2008.
Bascule Piers, Superstructure, Operator's House, and some demolition of existing bridge.

BR-3B - Potomac River Bridge Virginia Approach Spans, contract awarded to Granite/Corman, at $115.5 million, Notice to Proceed on April 22, 2003. MDOT SHA Project No. PG 5175173. Original specified contract completion date is August 15, 2008.   
Piers, Superstructure, Inner Loop Foundations in Jones Point Park, and some demolition of existing bridge.

BR-3C - Potomac River Bridge Maryland Approach Spans, contract awarded to Kraemer/American Bridge/Trumbull, at $191.1 million, Notice to Proceed on June 13, 2003. MDOT SHA Project No. PG 5155173. Original specified contract completion date is August 15, 2008.
Piers, MD Abutment, Superstructure, Fender Ring, and some demolition of existing bridge.

MA-1A - I-295 Interchange Pre-Consolidation, contract awarded to John Driggs Company, Inc., at $9.4 million, Notice to Proceed on August 15, 2001, completed on September 7, 2004, at $12.1 million. Rosalie Island pre-consolidation, including mass grading, pre-consolidation of existing soils, and retaining walls. Work includes installation of wick drains, earth surcharge and high strength geotextiles at MD abutment. MDOT SHA Project No. PG3555173.
Soil pre-consolidation for Outer Loop between MD Abutment & Mainland, including Retaining Wall #1. Work includes installation of Wick Drains, Earth Surcharge and High Strength Geotextiles at MD Abutment (Cut: 100K cyds, Fill: 550K cyds).

MA-1 - I-295 Interchange Ramps E, F, E-1, contract awarded to G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., at $42.4 million, Notice to Proceed on November 26, 2001, completed on March 3, 2006, at $52.2 million. Ramps to/from S-curve connection. Replacement of S-curve ramps with new longer bridges to permit future construction of Outer Loop Local and Express lanes. Work includes access to Oxon Hill Rd. Includes 6 bridges and 4 retaining walls. MDOT SHA Project No. PG3465173.
Replacement of Ramp E and Ramp F with new and longer bridges to permit future construction of Outer Loop Local and Express Lanes. New Ramp E and Ramp F Bridges. Work also includes Ramp E-1 connection to Oxon Hill Road and portions of Ramps F, O and R. Includes 6 bridges and 4 retaining walls. (Cut: 300K cyds, Fill: 200K cyds).

MA-2/MA-3 - I-295 Interchange Outer Loop, contract awarded to G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., at $45.3 million, Notice to Proceed on December 23, 2002, completed on July 17, 2006, at $51.8 million. Outer Loop Express and Local Lanes, ramps under I-95, including lightweight fill behind the MD abutment. Ramps over I-95 and National Harbor Interchange. Includes 11 bridges and 10 retaining walls. MDOT SHA Project No. PG3475173.
Outer Loop Local Lanes, National Harbor Interchange, Ramps A, G, J, P and portions of Ramps B, T, Q, R and H. Includes 11 bridges and 6 retaining walls and some landscaping. (Cut: 180K cyds, Fill: 420K cyds).

MA-4 - I-295 Interchange Inner Loop and Rosalie Island Park, contract awarded to G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., at $93.2 million, Notice to Proceed on April 1, 2005. Inner Loop Express and Local Lanes, and balance of most ramps and I-295 and a portion of the I-95 median. Includes 7 bridges and 7+/- retaining walls.MDOT SHA Project No. PG5025173. Specified contract completion date is May 15, 2009.
Outer Loop Express, Inner Loop Express and Inner Loop Local, I-295 to DC Line, Ramp I and remaining portions of Ramps B, J, M, N, O, Q, T and V and all work for Rosalie Island Park including deckover, north/south pedestrian path connections, bridge over Smoots Cove, pedestrian path and all final landscaping. Includes 10 bridges and 12 retaining walls. (Cut: 300K cyds, Fill: 350K cyds).

MB-1/2 - MD-210 Interchange Noise Walls, Bald Eagle Rd., contract awarded to G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., at $18.7 million, Notice to Proceed on February 4, 2004, completed on June 15, 2006, at $21.5 million. Early phase construction for noise / retaining walls for Inner Loop, landscaping / mitigation at Flintstone Elementary School. Bald Eagle Road, ramp bridge over Oxon Hill Road, ramp connections to Outer Loop, retaining walls, ramp connections to Oxon Hill Road. Oxon Hill Road, noise barrier at Forest Heights Baptist Church. MDOT SHA Project No. PG3605173.
Construction of noise barrier / retaining walls for Inner Loop and landscaping / mitigation at Flintstone Elementary School, noise barrier at Forest Heights Baptist Church, Bald Eagle Road, Ramp F bridge over Oxon Hill Road, Ramp F-1 connection to Outer Loop, Ramp G connection to Oxon Hill Road. Includes 3 bridges and 8 retaining walls.

MB-3 - MD-210 Interchange Oxon Hill Road Int., contract awarded to Corman Construction, Inc., at $40.8 million, Notice to Proceed on May 11, 2005, completed on November 30, 2007, at $54.2 million. MD-210 bridge over Beltway, Oxon Hill Road grade separation, MD 210 roadways; includes a new communication tower and relocation of the MSHA salt barn. MDOT SHA Project No. PG5075173.
MD-210 bridge over Beltway, Ramps A, C and H, MD-210 roadways, HOV ramps, Oxon Hill Road grade separation, connecting ramps, and relocation of salt barn to new quadrant. Includes 4 bridges and 2 retaining walls.

MB-4 - MD-210 Interchange Beltway Inner and Outer Loops, contract awarded to G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., at $59.5 million, Notice to Proceed on December 23, 2005. Inner Loop and Inner Loop / Beltway ramps west of Livingston Road, bridge over Livingston Road, retaining wall for north side of HOV lanes, and temporary pavement for cross over.  Outer Loop express and bridge over Livingston Road, HOV Ramps, Ramp B bridge and mainline paving. (Defers Livingston Rd. bridge, mainline east of this bridge, HOV and most of outer loop). MDOT SHA Project No. PG5095173. Specified contract completion date is September 1, 2008.
Inner Loop Local, Inner Loop Express, Outer Loop, bridges over Livingston Road (3 phases), Ramp B, balance of HOV ramps. Includes 4 bridges and 8 retaining walls.

There are a number of Environmental Mitigation contracts, see the WWB Project official website.

VDOT Dashboard - WWB Projects

The VDOT Dashboard has the details for their projects.

WWB Contract VA-2 - US Route 1 Interchange Ground Improvement,
completion details copied June 18, 2008.
UPC - 57523
Contract ID - C00057523C03
State Project - # 009596A106
Description - Rte 95 - Ground Improvement Contract #1 For Rte 1 Intrchg
Route - 95
Construction Company - Shirley Contracting Company, LLC
Contract Award Amount - $34,452,368
Un-audited Final Cost - $32,947,091
Current Contract Amount - $35,482,346
Contract Execution Date - December 7, 2001
Original Specified Completion Date - April 30, 2004
Current Specified Completion Date - April 30, 2004
Acceptance Date - April 29, 2004
Days Charged To Date - 864 days
Original # Days Allowed - 865 days
ACCEPTANCE DATE < ORIGINAL COMPLETION DATE

WWB Contract VA-4 - US Route 1 Interchange Tie-In,
construction-in-progress details copied June 17, 2008.
UPC - 71035
Contract ID - A00060515C04
State Project # - (FO)009596A106
Description - Route 1 Tie-in: Includes Grading, Drainage, Asphalt Pavement, Utilities
Route - 95
Construction Company - Corman Construction, Inc.
Contract Award Amount - $54,634,209
Inspector's Estimated Amount to Complete - $63,196,926
Cost of Work To Date - $61,105,097
Current Contract Amount - $60,190,238
15.6% OVER ORIGINAL CONTRACT AWARD AMOUNT
Start Date - February 10, 2003
Original Specified Completion Date - November 1, 2007
Current Specified Completion Date - May 20, 2008
Current Estimated Completion Date - May 20, 2008
% Work Completed - 97%
% Original Time Spent - 113%
Days Charged To Date - 1,951
Original # Days Allowed - 1,722
TODAY > ORIGINAL COMPLETION DATE (NOTE THAT THE CONTRACT TIME LIMIT WAS EXTENDED 201 DAYS)

WWB Contract VA-5 - US Route 1 Interchange Advanced Bridge,
completion details copied June 18, 2008.
UPC - 62735
Contract ID - A00062735B26
State Project # - 009596A106
Description - U.S. Rte. 1 Interchange Adv. Bridge(VA-5), Includes 11 Bridges
Route - 95

Construction Company - R. R. Dawson Bridge Company, LLC

Contract Award Amount - $38,395,394
Un-audited Final Cost - $40,141,791
Current Contract Amount - $39,560,907
Contract Execution Date - June 3, 2003
Original Specified Completion Date - June 15, 2005
Current Specified Completion Date - September 30, 2005
Acceptance Date - September 30, 2005
Days Charged To Date - 847 days
Original # Days Allowed - 846 days
ACCEPTANCE DATE > ORIGINAL COMPLETION DATE (NOTE THAT THE CONTRACT TIME LIMIT WAS EXTENDED 107 DAYS)

WWB Contract VA-6/7 - US Route 1 Interchange (Major Portion),
construction-in-progress details copied June 17, 2008.
UPC - 64613
Contract ID - C00018138C01
State Project # - 0095-96A-106,C501
Description - I95/I495/Rte. 1 Interchange (VA-6/7)
Route - 95
Construction Company - Tidewater Skanska, Inc.
Contract Award Amount - $146,577,166
Inspector's Estimated Amount to Complete - $172,553,486
Cost of Work To Date - $141,311,438
Current Contract Amount - $163,649,898
17.7% OVER ORIGINAL CONTRACT AWARD AMOUNT
Start Date - December 23, 2003
Original Specified Completion Date - June 30, 2009
Current Specified Completion Date - June 30, 2009
Current Estimated Completion Date - June 30, 2009
% Critical Work Completed - 82%
% Critical Work Planned - 85%
Days Charged To Date - 1,639
Current Number of Days - 2,017
Schedule Type Fixed
 TODAY <= PROJECTED COMPLETION DATE AND PROJECTED COMPLETION DATE <= ORIGINAL COMPLETION DATE

WWB Contract VB-2/3/6 - Telegraph Road Interchange,
construction-in-progress details copied June 17, 2008.
UPC - 77923
Contract ID - A00018136C01
State Project # - 0095-96A-105,C501,C503,B601
Description - I-95 Telegraph Road Interchange Improvement
Route - 95
Construction Company - CK Constructors, a joint venture
Contract Award Amount - $236,393,188
Inspector's Estimated Amount to Complete - $236,393,188
Cost of Work To Date - $17,084,065
Current Contract Amount - $236,503,643
< 3% OVER ORIGINAL CONTRACT AWARD AMOUNT
Contract Execution Date (Start Date) - February 12, 2008
Original Specified Completion Date - June 30, 2013
Current Specified Completion Date - June 30, 2013
Current Estimated Completion Date - June 30, 2013
% Work Completed - 7%
% Original Time Spent - 6%
Days Charged To Date - 127
Current Number of Days - 1,966
Schedule Type Fixed
 TODAY <= PROJECTED COMPLETION DATE AND PROJECTED COMPLETION DATE <= ORIGINAL COMPLETION DATE

Published Articles about Woodrow Wilson Bridge Construction

"Woodrow Wilson Bridge Beats Obstacles as it Becomes Beltway Savior",
Engineering News Record, January 31, 2005. Excerpts (in blue text):
After more than four years of construction, the $2.4-billion plan to build a new Woodrow Wilson Bridge across the Potomac River and expand adjacent segments of the Capital Beltway has reached the one-third-complete mark. The scorecard so far? Neil Pedersen, head of the Maryland State Highway Administration, which oversees the lions share of the contracts, says: "We are on schedule. We are slightly under our budget. For a megaproject these days, that is quite an accomplishment."

After the huge cost run-up on Bostons "Big Dig," any $1-billion-plus transportation megaproject faces sterner scrutiny than before from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, not to mention other federal and state auditors. What puts the Wilson bridge even more squarely at center stage is that it is Washington, D.C.s megaproject, with Congress and U.S. DOT right on its doorstep. "Were in the spotlight, so the expectations are really ramped up," says Robert D. Douglass, project director for Marylands highway agency.

While pleased with the progress so far, project officials know that there is lots left to do and a tight timetable. For Russell Fuhrman, executive project manager for general engineering consultant team Potomac Crossing Consultants, the overriding issue is "schedule, schedule, schedule." Fuhrman also is a senior manager with Parsons Brinckerhoff, New York City, which with San Francisco-based URS and Baltimore-based Rummel Klepper & Kahl LLP make up PCC.

Knowing that patchwork could not go on indefinitely and that more capacity was needed, a new crossing emerged after a long public debate. The plan now being built includes two parallel 6,075-ft-long bascule bridges, each featuring reinforced concrete piers and structural steel girders. The southern bridge will be 110 ft wide and its upstream sibling 124 ft wide. Each will have room for six lanes plus shoulders. At the peak, each deck rises about 100 ft from the top of the pier foundations. With a 135-ft clearance, annual drawspan openings should drop to 65.

The key date staring at the project team is spring 2006, when the new southern bridge is slated to open. Traffic then will be shifted to that new structure and the old bridge will be demolished. Work has proceeded on both new bridges, but once the old bridge is demolished, contractors can push single-mindedly on the second new bridge, aiming for a 2008 opening.

The new bascule bridge may be the heart of the Wilson Bridge reconstruction, but major interchanges on both sides of the river constitute the major arteries. Rebuilding them on unstable soils in one of the nations busiest corridors is like performing multiple angioplasties, with methods both new and tried-and-true.

Maryland and Virginia approach and interchange contracts are geared to tie into a May 2006 switchover of traffic from the existing Woodrow Wilson Bridge to the new bridge outer loop lanes. The outer loop local lanes will carry interim traffic. The future outer loop express lanes temporarily will serve inner loop traffic going in the opposite direction for about 2 years. In summer 2008, traffic will switch over from the outer loop lanes to the new inner loop lanes.

Currently, the $250 million of Wilson Bridge-related work under way in Virginia is on time and on budget with no major claims to date, says Nickerson. That also includes a $54-million contract for a six-lane tie-in to the future Wilson Bridge and a $39-million contract for ramps and flyovers. The work also includes 7,000 ft of utility microtunneling beneath I-95, auger-drilled columns injected with concrete, lightweight geofoam blocks in embankments and a cementitious flowable fill that achieves stability within six weeks.


See the URL for the remainder of the article, and photos and links to drawings of the bridge and overall project.

In the fourth paragraph quoted above from the article, that "135-ft clearance" refers to the bascule span being fully raised, and the new bridge will have 70 feet of vertical navigational clearance when the bascule span is fully lowered, so the ENR statement should read "With a 70-ft clearance, annual drawspan openings should drop to 65".

The existing 50-foot vertical navigational clearance drawspan opens approximately 260 times per year to allow for the passage of marine traffic with greater than 50 foot height above water, traveling the Potomac River. Because the new drawbridges will be 20 feet higher than the existing Bridge, the number of openings will be reduced to about 65 per year (or about one per week), down from the current nearly 260 openings per year. Based on current marine traffic, this is a 75 percent reduction. See Roads to the Future article Woodrow Wilson Bridge Improvement Study.

The ENR second "Click here to view drawing" link has this IMAGE.

The full 175-foot-wide navigation channel does not have unlimited clearance, at least not at the outer limits of the channel where the vertical clearance is 135 feet. It looks like the inner about 100 feet of channel width would have about 180 feet of vertical clearance at the outer limits that 100 foot width, and inside of there the vertical clearance is unlimited. The ability to allow passage of a ship with greater height than 135 feet, would depend on the shape of its superstructure and the placement of its masts. The US-301 Potomac River Bridge limits ship traffic to a 135-foot height, and is downstream of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

Legend

VDOT - Virginia Department of Transportation
MDOT SHA - Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland State Highway Administration
DDOT - District Department of Transportation
FHWA - Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
WWB - Woodrow Wilson Bridge
EIS - Environmental Impact Statement
FEIS - Final Environmental Impact Statement
DEIS - Draft Environmental Impact Statement
ROD - Record of Decision
HOV - High Occupancy Vehicle

Lead article - Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-495 and I-95)
Main webpage - Capital Beltway dot com

Photos by Scott Kozel unless otherwise noted.

Copyright 1998-2008 by Scott Kozel. All rights reserved. Reproduction, reuse, or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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By Scott M. Kozel, Roads to the Future, Capital Beltway dot com

(Created 3-21-2002, moved to capital-beltway.com on 7-1-2007, last updated 06-23-2008)