Procurement afoot for first Ohio P3

Ohio is determining a contractor for what will stand to be its first P3. A RFP for the $330m Innerbelt Bridge project is due to go out in a month.

Ohio is closing in on choosing a contractor to join its first ever public-private partnership (PPP; P3) on a project to tear down and reconstruct a bridge in Cleveland.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has selected Kokosing Construction Company and Michael Baker Junior; Trumbull Construction Company, The Great Lake Construction Company and The Ruhlin Company with URS Corporation, and; Walsh Construction with HDR Engineering to vie for the $330 million Innerbelt Bridge P3.

Each aforementioned team will receive a request for proposals (RFP), set to be sent out within a month, said Steve Faulkner, press director for ODOT.

The winning team will design, build and finance a “second” Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland after demolishing and disposing of the existing Innerbelt Bridge, the ODOT said. The mandate is limited to the eastbound side of the bridge; construction on a parallel, five-lane westbound bridge began in 2011 via traditional procurement.

The Innerbelt Bridge is a truss arch bridge built in 1959 to buttress Interstate 90 over the Cuyahoga River. The ageing bridge has been faulted for its structural weakness: in 2008, commercial trucking traffic was banned from the Innerbelt Bridge.

But a $1.6 billion budget deficit prevented the Ohio Department of Transportation from developing and erecting a second Innerbelt Bridge and in 2011 Governor Josh Kasich announced his US Midwest state would enact enabling P3 legislation.

The P3 law allowed Ohio to designate the Innerbelt Bridge undertaking as a design, build and finance (DBF) project. In addition, the state slated a proposed $700 million four-lane road project, called the ‘Portsmouth Bypass’, in south central Ohio as a P3, along with the ‘Brent Spence Bridge Corridor,’ a potential $2.4 billion mega-project.

ODOT, meanwhile, was free to create a P3 office, named the Department of Innovative Delivery, putting James Riley in charge. Riley did not return a voicemail message.

Faulkner said ODOT has not figured out how to fund the Innerbelt Bridge project.