View Full Version : Good news on the I-85 closeure

04-12-2017, 11:00 PM
It was announced today that they expect to have the section of I-85 bridge replaced by May 21. They are offering the contractor a 3 million dollar incentive to get it done post haste. California did the same thing after the earthquake that destroyed the Interstate out there and they got every thing up and running ahead of schedule. Funny what a extra little money can get done, if you want to call 3 million a little extra.

04-13-2017, 08:22 AM
Michigan did the same with a freeway re-construction project some years back. Crew finished the job in record time, Quality work, Even though some of the locals did not appreciate the crews working on the freeway and expressed themselves with guns.

Company got the bonus, (It was so much a day for early completion, they got like 30 days worth) Seems those early completion bonuses work, also no cost overrun save for the bonus... (Part of the contract) most Freeway jobs end up costing 2 or more times the bid.

04-13-2017, 05:51 PM
Early-completion bonuses (and late-completion penalties) are very common in road-construction contracts, and usually save money for the state. That's because the state has to staff every project with engineers, surveyors, inspectors, and grunts, and (if the project is at all large) usually has to maintain a project office (building) on the site. That's all quite expensive. Finish early, and these large costs are reduced.

Many years ago, when I worked for the Florida State Road Department (nowadays called Department of Transportation) as a grunt and inspector on the multi-year Julia Tuttle Causeway Interchange project in Miami -- I was there from 1958 to 1962 -- one line item in each segment of the overall contract was maintenance of traffic. This was a payment for the contractor's considerable cost of maintaining a path for city traffic to cross the site (several miles square). One part of the project finished months early. A State Legislator (Charlie Johns) raised a stink about paying the whole contractual cost "because the contractor didn't have to maintain traffic for the whole planned time". One of my bosses was summoned to go to Tallahassee and be grilled by a Legislative Investigating Committee (one of many "Johns Committees").

He made it simple for them. What he told them, basically, was "We have penalties in our contracts for finishing late. Are you suggesting, Senator, that we penalize the contractor for finishing early?"

The press, who (like everyone else) despised Charlie Johns anyway, took it from there.

04-13-2017, 09:35 PM
It's amazing how much they have completed so far. They have all the support columns done, they are getting some of the beams delivered this weekend and the rest by the end of next week. After that it is constructing the bridge deck. :drink:

04-13-2017, 10:09 PM
That is pretty quick. After the columns come the pier caps, then the beams. Once the beams are in place, the bridge is perhaps 1/4 built.

Carpenters build forms for the concrete diaphragms that go between the beams. Then the diaphragms are poured (wait several days for them to set), screed rails erected lengthwise, deck forms built (a major job), and reinforcing bars placed inside the forms (along with the cardboard-like contraction- and expansion-joint separators). Then comes a big day: pouring the deck and leveling it with a "screed" which is a huge oscillating straightedge that travels on the screed rails, all the while oscillating sideways. Then the concrete-finishing crew work and broom the concrete surface and spray it with a temporary waterproof spray ("curing compound") to keep it from drying out before it sets (drying out would weaken the concrete disastrously). Sometimes, instead, they just put sprinklers out to keep it wet for a week.

Then they form and pour the curbs, wingwalls, etc., and at last install guardrails, handrails, and stuff.

I left out a lot, such as the surveying crew that sets the elevations along the screed rails, and stuff like that. If they're actually going to finish it in May, they have to be quick.