Saturday, October 06, 2007

Relax, HNTB is running WisDOT

HNTB, WisDOT's favorite contractor and a big, big Doyle campaign contributor, is running into a few problems in Minnesota. This is from the St. Paul Pioneer-Press:

Reconstruction of the Wakota Bridge, on the crucial Interstate 494 artery that spans the Mississippi River between South St. Paul and Newport, is years behind schedule and faces millions of dollars in cost overruns.

It was originally budgeted at $120 million and was expected to open next month.

But a design flaw by engineering firm HNTB caused cracking in part of the bridge, prompting an overhaul that cost about $19 million more and tacked on 14 months to the project.

Wakota is actually two bridges side by side - a westbound span and an eastbound span. The westbound span has been open for months, and must carry traffic both ways until the eastbound span is complete.

Meanwhile, MnDOT has been locked in a dispute with Lunda Construction over how much it would cost to finish it.

At one point, Lunda wanted $62 million to finish the second span - a significant increase over its original bid of $24.5 million. Lunda officials have attributed it to rising costs.

Don't you feel better now, knowing HNTB is scarfing up all the southeastern Wisconsin freeway design projects?

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