By BRADEN LAMMERS
Kentucky chose Chicago-based Walsh Construction Co. as its contractor for the downtown portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project on Thursday afternoon.
The winning team, which will construct a new downtown Interstate 65 bridge and reconstruct Spaghetti Junction, offered a cost of $971 million with a completion date of Dec. 10, 2016, for the design-build project.
Walsh Construction’s team beat out two other teams with the “apparent best value” of the three who sought to build Kentucky’s portion of the plan. Ohio River Transportation Constructors and Skanska Flatiron Dragados were the other bid teams who submitted proposals to build the bridge and interchange.
“We challenged the best transportation teams to deliver innovative, cost-efficient plans for the largest construction project in the history of Kentucky and Indiana,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock in a press release. “The result of this spirited competition will be a project that will cost less and take less time to build.”
Walsh offered its construction costs for the project at $860 million. The bid would complete Kentucky’s portion of the project more than a year-and-a-half ahead of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s absolute deadline of June 30, 2018, and would be $90 million less than the cabinet’s preliminary construction cost estimate of $950 million, according to the release.
Price proposals and technical proposals for the project were scored separately, then added together to determine the “best value” contractor for the project.
Technical proposals combined design and construction plans — that made up 25 percent of a composite score — and work force plans for training and including minorities, women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises — that totaled 5 percent of the overall score — and were submitted Oct. 1 and evaluated by a panel of cabinet and consulting professionals, according to the release.
The price proposals, which included both cost and days of construction, made up 70 percent of the overall score. The cost proposals were opened at the public meeting held at Kentucky Transportation Cabinet headquarters Thursday and were added together to determine the winning bidder.
While the construction bid was $860 million, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the total cost of its portion of the bridges project will exceed $1 billion when it includes the costs for land acquisition, utility relocation, preliminary design and consulting work, construction oversight, toll system development and other necessary items.
Kentucky still needs to review the bid before it officially awards the contract. Walsh Construction plans to begin construction early next year.
Indiana is expected to pick the contractor for the east-end portion of the Ohio River Bridges Projects at the Indiana Finance Authority’s regular monthly meeting today.
Following the state’s selection of its winning bid team, Indiana’s public-private-partnership statute requires a public hearing in the project area, then will hold another meeting to make a final determination on the selected proposer, which is subject to Indiana Budget Committee review and review by the governor, according to an Indiana Finance Authority press release.