Talmadge Bridge

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Transportation is moving forward with its first project involving a new contracting option the General Assembly authorized two years ago.

The State Transportation Board voted Thursday to proceed with a plan to replace the cables on the Talmadge Bridge in Savannah and raise the structure to more easily accommodate cargo ships calling at the Port of Savannah. The work will be done without closing the bridge to traffic, at an estimated cost of $150 million to $175 million.

The bridge was built in the late 1980s, Andrew Hoenig, construction program manager for the DOT’s Office of Alternative Delivery, told members of the board’s Program Delivery Committee.

“There have been a lot of upgrades in cable technology since then, and you also have 40 years of wear and tear and degradation on the cables,” he said.

The project will be the first the state has built using the Construction Management/General Contractor (CM/GC) model of contracting. Unlike contracts the DOT normally undertakes, the CM/GC model gets the contractor involved as the project is being designed, Hoenig said.

“It’s projects that present unique needs that would benefit from contractor involvement early in the process,” he said. “You can tailor the design to the contractors.”

While many bridge projects across the nation have involved replacing cables or creating more draft space for ships to pass underneath, combining the two tasks in the same project is a “unique approach,” Hoenig said.

The project’s initial timetable calls for the DOT to issue a request for qualifications from interested contractors in April, with a June deadline for responses. The agency then plans to release a request for proposals in August, which will be due in November.

The DOT expects to issue a notice for preconstruction services in December, with a contractor on board. When construction will begin remains uncertain.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.