Hopes Run High for $20M Phenix City Development

Bolander Tabbed for Cleanup Work

Mon August 13, 2007 - National Edition
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Carl Bolander & Sons Co. will be helping to clean up the debris of the I-35W bridge collapse after being awarded a $15 million contract by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT).

Company officials were unavailable for comment, but Kevin Gutknecht, a spokesman of Mn/DOT, said the cleanup will continue as a search for the cause continues.

“While we are removing debris, the National Traffic Safety Board and the Hennepin Sheriff’s Department, will continue to do their investigations,” said Gutknecht. “There is going to be process where we are working together.”

Bolander, based in St. Paul and established in 1924, will be using three or four 100-ton cranes and three excavators to help move debris to a staging area, where investigators can closely examine the bridge’s wreckage.

Gutknecht said there is no time frame on how long the cleanup will take before work gets under way to build a new bridge. The federal government has pledged $250 million to replace fallen I-35W span, which opened in 1967.

“It depends on how long the recovery phase takes,” said Gutknecht, “but it probably will take months.”

A design-build process, however, is already under way.

“If there’s a project that needs to be expedited, design-build is one way to do it,” said Dave Semerad, chief executive officer of Associated General Contractors of Minnesota.

Bolander is a member of the Minnesota AGC.

“Bolander is a great company,” said Semerad. “They’ve been a member of AGC since 1935. They are a very safe company. They are particular about training their supervisors and workforce.”

Bolander is co-owned by Mark Ryan, president, and Rick O’Gara, CEO, who both bought the company from the Bolander family in 2005.

Bolander’s projects in Minnesota include the removal of eight grain elevators in Lakeville in 1993, the removal of St. Paul’s Grain Terminal Association’s grain elevator in 1990 and the demolition and removal of buildings in St. Paul in 1998 to make room Lawson software building.

The AGC chapter in Minnesota has kept is members apprised of new developments in the cleanup and rebuilding process at www.agcmn.org. According to a message posted on the Web site, a process to select qualified candidates to rebuild the bridge was slated to conclude Aug. 8.

The chapter also has posted a message to its members to set aside their heavy and mid-level cranes, barges, tugboats, excavators, dozers and other types of equipment — if needed to help with the recovery effort.

“We had a tremendous response from our members,” said Semerad. “Everybody is devastated this has happened.”

Semerad said Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure has been burdened by growth during the past 20 years and undermined by the lack of a gas tax increase, which hasn’t happened for two decades.

“The population growth has far outstripped our transportation system,” he said.