Mayor Chris Beutler and the Joint Antelope Valley Authority (JAVA) today announced that seven bridges in the Antelope Valley Project area will be repaired at no cost to taxpayers. An agreement was reached last week with project consultants and contractors to repair areas of cracking concrete surface material on the bottoms of the bridges. The agreement includes the assignment of financial responsibility. Repair work will begin this week and is expected to be completed in mid-November.
"The consultants and contractors took total financial responsibility, and the JAVA partners were even reimbursed $30,000 to defray expenses related to the repairs," Beutler said. "We did exactly what the public asked of us: we insisted on accountability and held the taxpayer harmless. I want to thank the JAVA partners — the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District and the University of Nebraska — for their unwavering commitment to a firm and fair resolution. I want to thank the consultants and contractors for stepping up and helping find a solution."
The primary consultants and contractors are Parsons Brinckerhoff Americas, Inc.; Hawkins Construction Company; Constructors Inc.; United Contractors Inc.; and Watts Electric Company.
The bridges opened to traffic between July 2007 and October 2009. Defects were discovered by City staff late last year, and trails under the bridges were closed January 4 after an 18-inch piece of concrete fell from the "O" Street bridge. The trails were reopened January 28th after temporary bridge repairs.
The Mayor thanked the Federal Highway Administration and the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) for their work on the issue. The NDOR's independent evaluation concluded the problems were caused by several factors, including the absence of required drainage in electrical conduits, poor workmanship and poor inspections. (The NDOR also found a problem with roadway expansion joints which will be corrected by the City.) The NDOR report also covered the extent of the damage and proposed solutions. The estimated cost of the repairs is about $250,000.
"In the course of a project as large as Antelope Valley, it is not unusual to have aspects that don't work as planned," Beutler said. "In this case, a problem was identified, project leadership demanded accountability on behalf of taxpayers, and good corporate citizens stepped in to fix the problems. It is a successful conclusion to a difficult challenge."
The repair plans were approved by federal and state officials in August. Repair work will begin on the Military Road Bridge and will proceed south to the "Y", Vine, "P", "Q", "O" and "N" street bridges. Temporary trail closures will be necessary.
More information on the Antelope Valley Project is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: antelope).