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Cleveland Starts Design/Build Innerbelt Bridge Plan

Fri April 02, 2010 - Midwest Edition
Linda J. Hutchinson

On March 23, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced its three finalist design/build teams, each of whom hopes to build ODOT’s first value-based, design/build project. It is the state’s largest single transportation investment ever — construction of a new $450 million westbound I-90 Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio.

Each of the three design/build teams will submit technical and price proposals for the project on or before Aug. 5, and the contract will be awarded on Sept. 17. Work is estimated to begin in 2011 and to be completed in June 2014.

“I am pretty excited,” said District 12 Deputy Director Bonita Teeuwen, “I feel a lot of potential here. The fact the larger national firms are coming to Ohio says this is a nationally recognized project.”

Four design/build teams submitted their qualifications to ODOT, which chose three finalists to prepare and submit bids for the new westbound Inner Belt Bridge:

• Contractor: Lane/ Brayman LLC, a joint venture with Lane Construction Co. of Cheshire, Conn. Worked on high-occupancy lanes on Interstate 495 Beltway in Virgina.

Brayman Construction Corp. of Saxonburg, Pa. Worked on Interstate 64 Kanawha River Bridge in Charleston, W.Va.

Designer: FIGG Engineering Group of Tallahassee, Fla., worked on Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minn.

• Contractor: Trumbull-Great Lakes-Ruhlin, a joint venture of Trumbull Corp. of Pittsburgh. Rehabilitated 31st Street Bridge over the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh.

The Great Lakes Construction Co. of Hinckley, Ohio. Worked on Interstate 80 bridges over the Meander Reservoir in Mahoning County.

The Ruhlin Co. of Wadsworth, Ohio. Worked on bridge and road at International Gateway at Columbus Airport.

Designer: Parsons Transportation Group Inc. of Pasadena, Calif. Designed and constructed Cleveland Hopkins International Airport expansion.

• Contractor: Walsh Construction of Chicago. Worked on the Pennsylvania Turnpike twin bridges over the Allegheny River.

Designer: HNTB of Kansas City, Kan., worked on U.S. Grant Bridge over the Ohio River in Portsmouth, OH.

On Feb. 2, ODOT began advertising for “Requests for Qualifications” from potential design-build teams. Potential teams were required to provide ODOT with a list of qualifications including past experience in design/build construction management, project understanding and approach, and capabilities of the team. As part of ODOT’s transparent and accountable process, those “Statements of Qualifications” will be evaluated based on specific criteria and will be awarded points based on how well that team meets those criteria, according to an ODOT press release.

Due to the size and scope of the innerbelt project, only four teams submitted applications. Of those, two are local, however, ODOT, by federal law, “cannot give local firms any preference,” said Teeuwen.

“We are pleased and excited to see the teams that are interested in building this project. There are some very powerful teams here and it just goes to show that this project is nationally recognized. I’m excited to see what these teams can bring to Cleveland,” said Teeuwen.

Each of the four design/build teams submitted 25 copies of its application, along with a list of its qualifications, which were then locked in “war rooms” in both the Columbus ODOT headquarters and the district 12 offices in Garfield Heights.

A panel of 15 experts, representatives from Cleveland’s planning, sustainability, and traffic and engineering departments, reviewed the qualifications of each team and then made recommendations to the five-member advisory group. Each panel member was required to sign a confidentiality agreement and a statement that no conflict of interest existed between the panel member and any of the teams.

ODOT’s advisory group members included Teeuwen, deputy director of production management; Timothy McDonald, deputy director of construction management; William Lindenbaum, chief engineer; Keith Swearingen and deputy director of highway operations, Halle Jones Capers.

As part of its innovative value-based, design/build process, ODOT made clear its intentions of choosing design/build teams to provide: maximum positive impact, superior design and construction expertise, outstanding aesthetics, creative ideas for sustainability and excellent community relations. Selection criteria for choosing the final design included: sustainability and green initiatives, I-90 bridge aesthetics, design management, proposed design, construction management, construction, quality management, schedule, community relations, on-the-job training, prequalification and cost, according to an ODOT press release.

Each criterion was assigned a point value and a team of ODOT and city of Cleveland officials will evaluate the proposed design based on this technical criteria.

Price proposals will only be opened now that the final three teams have been chosen.

The contract will be awarded to the team which provides the “best value” based on a combination of the technical and the price proposals, the ODOT press release continued.

No matter which team is selected, ODOT has made it clear that Cleveland residents will have a say in the aesthetic appeal of the new bridge. The team will be required to meet with city and community groups to present proposals for aesthetic details of the bridge, including color and lighting and surface treatments.

ODOT also has worked extensively with the Innerbelt Urban Design and Aesthetics subcommittee chaired by Cleveland City Planning Commission Director, Robert N. Brown. The subcommittee, which include 35 instrumental community representatives, has been working since June 2009 to provide prescriptive comments to be included in the design/build contract.

With monthly meetings and focus groups, the subcommittee considered and recommended a series of design principles for the structure, including consistent and coherent design, minimal piers, aesthetic lighting treatment and curved or “haunched” girders. The committee also prescribed specific enhancements to be constructed in the Tremont and Gateway neighborhoods surrounding the structure, including scenic overlooks, improved lighting and green-space, multi-modal connections and additional parking. The finalized recommendations from the aesthetic subcommittee were approved by the Cleveland City Planning Commission in November 2009.

Disadvantaged business participation in the project also is being stressed. In order to increase the amount of disadvantaged community and business participation in the project, ODOT announced a lofty “aspirational goal” for the project. ODOT has specified that 15 percent of work on the project should be performed by small and disadvantaged businesses in the Cleveland community, three percent of workers should receive on-the-job training and two community outreach consultants will work hand-in-hand with the disadvantaged business community, according to Jocelynn Clemings, public information officer, ODOT district 12.

ODOT began its comprehensive strategy to rebuild the Cleveland Innerbelt Plan in 2004. Included in the plan was the rebuilding of portions of I-71, I-77 and I-90 into downtown Cleveland.

Regarding the existing bridge structure, “the Department spent about $10 million in order to make repairs to the existing Innerbelt Bridge so that the bridge may remain safe and in service until the new westbound bridge is completed in 2014. The existing bridge was restricted during the fall of 2008 after ODOT engineers discovered a number of steel members were aging more quickly than anticipated,” said Clemings.

“Removal of the widening girder and a portion of the bridge deck was made possible only after extensive, detailed analysis of the steel members and connections of the main structure. In coordination with the FHWA, ODOT engineers found that the construction of a segment to widen the W. 14th Street on-ramp in the early 1980s added considerable additional weight and stress to the existing truss. After careful consideration of the analysis, the project team agreed that the best way to ensure safety of motorists on the bridge — while optimizing the traffic-carrying capacity of the structure — would be to remove the 300,000 lbs. widened segment of the W. 14th Street ramp,” said Clemings.

Whichever team wins the contract, work to demolish buildings and prepare for the new bridge will begin later this year. “Motorists will not be affected until the summer of 2011 when work begins on the new structure,” said Clemings.

In 2014, when the new five-lane span opens, it will carry both eastbound and westbound traffic until 2017. ODOT is planning to replace the current deteriorating Inner Belt Bridge at that time. At that point, the bridge built between this winter and 2014 will carry only westbound traffic and the replacement bridge completed in 2017 will carry only eastbound traffic.

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