Listen Live
WERE AM Mobile App 2020


News Talk Cleveland Featured Video

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Transportation believes $1 million will encourage contractors, engineers and designers to develop outstanding proposals for the new westbound Inner Belt Bridge.

ODOT will choose three design/build teams in March to prepare detailed bids for the $450 million bridge. The two teams not chosen won’t go away empty-handed. Each will be offered a $1 million stipend for their work.

“It is money to pay the unsuccessful bidders for the time and effort to draft the proposal,” said Jocelynn Clemings, spokeswoman for the ODOT district that includes Cleveland. “And by accepting the stipend, the unsuccessful bidders give ODOT the right to use their ideas.”

ODOT will award the contract in September, and construction will begin in 2011.

The Federal Highway Administration recommends stipends for large projects “where there is substantial opportunity for innovation and the cost of submitting a proposal is significant.” According to the administration, stipends encourage competition, compensates firms for a portion of their costs and ensures smaller companies are not at a competitive disadvantage.

Clemings said ODOT’s stipend is similar to that of the Arizona Department of Transportation, which provides a payment of 0.2 percent of the total bid amount. Other transportation departments have paid less, according to a list published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The Utah Department of Transportation paid a $950,000 stipend on a $1.35 billion interstate project.

ODOT’s Inner Belt Bridge project, which also includes development at either end of the bridge at Tremont and Gateway, is complex. The project scope, posted on the ODOT Website, is 236 pages.

“We felt that $1 million would encourage more innovation and competition,” said Clemings. The $2 million will come out of the project costs.

A design/build contract requires about 30 percent of the design to be completed when ground is broken and the remainder as the bridge is built.

Cleveland’s Design Review Committee members asked ODOT officials during a project presentation last November whether a stipend would be offered. Craig Hebebrand, ODOT’s project manager, said it was being considered.

“It’s just common sense that there needs to be some money there,” said committee member and architect Jack Bialosky Jr. If not, some firms would not bother to bid, he said.

ODOT included the stipend last week in a presentation at a meeting sponsored by the Northeast Ohio chapter of the Association of Bridge Construction & Design and the American Society of Highway Engineers.

“I think the state is trying to get some good teams,” Jonathan Hren, an engineer with TranSystems Corporation and vice president of the bridge association, said after the meeting. The stipend will not cover the cost of preparing a proposal, which may take up to six months and 20 people, he said.

Article courtesy of: