Launch Slideshow

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New procurement method deployed for bridge replacement

New procurement method deployed for bridge replacement

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    The new Willamette River Bridge is 50% complete. The southbound structure (foreground) stands in striking comparison with the original bridge (background). Photos: Oregon DOT

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    The new structure is a pair of arched bridges that touches down in the Willamette River once. The concrete arches get their shape and strength from cages made from “#18 vert;” at 13 pounds/foot, the largest rebar available. With such a heavy frame, the arch ribs will tip the scales at more than 11 million pounds (photo below explains how they'll be supported). Here, two crew members put the finishing touches on an arch reinforcement cage.

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    With the formwork removed, the beauty and grace of the new Willamette River Bridge is revealed. The weight of the concrete arches is fully supported by large caissons poured deep in the ground on either bank and in the middle of the river.

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    Beams of light fall on the southbound bridge, highlighting its elegant arches. Here, crews finalize the new bridge columns and prepare to install the bridge deck.

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    Residents of Eugene and Springfield, Ore., track the project's progress from a pedestrian viaduct that crosses the river.

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    Before and after: When Oregon's 50-year-old Willamette River Bridge (inset) was deemed structurally deficient, the state used construction manager/general contractor (CM/CG) for the first time to replace the original I-bulb structure with a more attractive deck-arch design pictured in the rendering at top of page. Rendering: OBEC Consulting Engineers

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    Completion of the new southbound bridge (shown here from the west) marks the halfway point of the Willamette River Bridge replacement, which is scheduled to be finished in 2013.



















Three lessons learned

We've already learned a number of things that will make our next CM/ GC project that much more effective:

  • Success depends on the owner's active participation and leadership. The project team needs a consistent, skilled manager from the beginning of procurement until the completion of construction. It's difficult, and counterproductive, to switch drivers in the middle of the project.
  • Each of the contractual entities must possess a strong team orientation. The owner needs to make team-work a prominent part of the selection scoring and interview potential partners carefully.
  • The method is ideal for projects where owner and contractor input is crucial to design development as well as to managing risks along the way. Its flexibility allows owners to cost-effectively resolve project challenges.
  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) holds CM/GC Peer Exchanges and provides data on implementing the CM/GC contracting method. For more information, contact the FHWA Innovative Contracting Engineer (jerry.blanding@dot.gov). The Utah and Arizona DOTs also have extensive experience in CM/GC and are willing to provide advice.

    —Cox (jim.b.cox@odot.state.or.us) is assistant branch manager of the Oregon DOT's Major Projects Branch and project manager for the I-5 Willamette River Bridge project.

    WEB EXTRA

    To see an exclusive slide show of the Willamette River Bridge under construction, click here.