COLUMBUS, OHIO — The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officially launched the search for a qualified design, construction and finance team to build the new eastbound Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland and demolish the aging structure motorists currently use as they drive into and out of the city’s downtown on Interstate 90. The team will provide initial financing and construct the bridge; ODOT will then pay the team back over a set time.
“I’ve said before, ‘this isn’t your Grandpa’s ODOT,’ meaning that — in many instances — the old way of delivering some of these major road and bridge construction projects is no longer sustainable,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “We must innovate and we must seek out new ways of generating money in order to deliver these large transportation projects that communities want and need in order to continue our state’s economic recovery and create jobs.”
This is the first time the state has pursued a design-build-finance (DBF) approach for the construction of a major transportation project in Ohio. However, the practice is widely used in others states and countries. In 2011, Ohio’s legislature was the 30th in the nation to approve public-private-partnerships (P3s) that will allow ODOT to reconsider how it plans, constructs and delivers road and bridge projects in local communities.
The DBF teams have until Dec. 21, 2012 to respond to ODOT’s request for qualifications (RFQ), which is posted to the agency’s website. The list of qualified respondents will be narrowed to no more than three following a defined scoring model outlined in the RFQ. Those teams will be asked to develop technical and financial proposals and provide them to ODOT. A final winning team is likely to be selected by the summer of 2013.
The Innerbelt Bridge project includes replacing the current aging span on I-90 with two new bridges and expands the number of lanes from eight to 10. Crews are currently working to build the new westbound bridge, and it alone is the largest project in ODOT history.
The DBF team will be responsible for financing a portion of the estimated $330 million cost of constructing the new eastbound bridge and demolishing the current bridge. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2013 or early 2014, once the first westbound bridge is complete.
In January 2012, ODOT announced a $1.6 billion transportation funding gap that pushed back by decades some of the state’s largest construction projects, including the construction of Cleveland’s second Innerbelt Bridge. Pursuit of a DBF team has allowed ODOT to return the bridge project to its original construction start date.
Download a copy of the RFQ at www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/InnovativeDelivery/CCG2RFQ/20121120_CCG2-RFQ.pdf.