Updated: MnDOT announces apparent low bidder for bridge project

(Image courtesy of MnDOT)
(Image courtesy of MnDOT)

The contractor building the Minnesota approach to the planned St. Croix Crossing bridge will likely construct the bridge superstructure as well.

On Nov. 1, MnDOT announced that a joint venture between Ames Construction and Lunda Construction Co. was the apparent low bidder for the superstructure contract. In addition to the St. Croix Crossing Minnesota approach work, the joint venture also constructed the Hastings bridge.

St. Croix Crossing Project Director Jon Chiglo said the Nov. 1 announcement marked a milestone for the project.

“Once we award the contract, we’ve committed over 90 percent of the funds to complete this project,” he said. “That is a major accomplishment and a major goal of all the stakeholders in this project.”

Ames/Lunda bid $380 million, but Chiglo said the actual cost will be significantly lower.

MnDOT estimates for the bridge itself placed the cost between $280 million and $310 million. The total project cost, including the approaches, is estimated at $580-676 million.

The $380 million bid includes the actual cost of the contract, plus a cost assigned to the expected number of days
construction will take. The contractor will only be paid for the cost of the contract. Both parts of the bid are confidential until the contract is awarded later this month. In the meantime, MnDOT says it will closely review the selected bid to ensure the contractor meets specifications.

According to MnDOT, the time component is added for bidding purposes to reduce time delays for critical projects with high road use. Contracts may include a fee charged to the contractor if it misses the deadline, as well as a reward if the contractor finishes early.

Chiglo said he’s confident the work will be completed on time.

“Both Lunda an Ames are very good contractors,” he said. “We’ve worked with them on many projects, and I look forward to working with them on this project. … We will work very hard to try to avoid delays to the completion of the project, and I have no reason to believe that we cannot do that.”

The bridge superstructure includes:

• A ramp bridge from Highway 95 to the river crossing (south of the main bridge)

• A ramp bridge from the river crossing to Highway 95 (north of the main bridge)

• A Highway 36 box girder approach bridge

• A connecting structure between the river bridge and the Highway 36 approach bridge

Contractor Edward Kraemer and Sons is constructing the bridge foundations upon which the superstructure will rest. The contract for the Wisconsin approach has not yet been awarded.

When complete, the bridge will be the second extradosed style bridge in the country — the first is in Connecticut.

MnDOT describes the bridge as a cross between a concrete box girders structure like the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge, and a cable-stayed structure like the Golden Gate Bridge. Its design is intended to minimize environmental impacts by keeping tower heights below the river bluffs and reducing the number of piers in the river to five.

The bridge is expected to open to traffic in 2016.

Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]