Caltrans Not Shaken By July 6 Earthquake Damage

Calif. Awards Contract to Rebuild Highway Collapse

Wed May 09, 2007 - West Edition
CEG



SACRAMENTO (AP) State transportation officials May 7 awarded a contract to rebuild the collapsed highway overpass that melted last week following the crash of a gasoline tanker for a fraction of the expected cost.

C.C. Meyers Inc. of Rancho Cordova won the emergency contract to rebuild Interstate 580 with a low bid of $867,075. CalTrans had set aside $20 million for the work, and said it expected the job would cost at least $5 million. The collapsed I-580 overpass is a key link between San Francisco and its East Bay suburbs.

Despite the lower-than-expected bid, the state could end up paying C.C. Meyers far more than the contract amount. The emergency deal includes a $200,000-a-day incentive to reopen the road before June 27.

If C.C. Meyers completes construction by early June, it could receive a maximum $5 million bonus. Conversely, if it goes beyond the deadline, it will be docked $200,000 a day.

State and federal transportation officials have justified the incentive program saying the road closure is costing the San Francisco Bay Area economy an estimated $4 million to $6 million a day in extra commuter costs and lost worker productivity.

CalTrans officials touted C.C. Meyers, saying the company was the same contractor that successfully completed the reconstruction of Interstate 10 following the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles.

C.C. Meyers, however, also was cited by state officials for a deadly 2003 bridge construction accident in Napa. The company also sued the state in 2003 when it lost a $178 million contract to retrofit part of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The I-580 work follows $8 million in construction to reopen a ramp connecting westbound Interstate 80 to southbound Interstate 880 on Monday, and nearly $9 million to clean up the accident site and boost public transit.

The California Highway Patrol is still investigating the cause of the April 29 accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also is conducting safety reviews of Sabek Transportation, the company that owned the truck.

According to documents obtained from the Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the tanker or its driver were cited 27 times since 2004 for violations ranging from unsafe brakes and tires to carrying more gasoline than the truck was rated for. CHP officials have said skid marks at the accident scene suggest the truck was speeding at the time of the crash.