Simpson Construction Inc. of Cleveland was selected to rebuild Interstate 75 Exit 20 and Talley Construction of Rossville, Ga., was awarded the contract to widen Durkee Road between Benton Pike and U.S. Highway 64.
Simpson submitted the lowest of six bids at $12.86 million. Bell & Associates Construction, Brentwood, finished second with a bid of $12.90 million, followed by Wright Brothers Construction, Charleston, $12.98 million; Mountain States Contractors, Mount Juliet, $14.22 million; Highways Inc., Chattanooga, $14.32 million; and Potter South East, Huntsville, $16.45 million.
Simpson Vice President Larry Eskew said bids grouped close together usually means the companies are estimating very close to cost. There are hundreds of line items in the bids, and a zero in the wrong place can skew a contractor’s figures.
“It’s always good to get a contract in your own backyard, but it seldom happens,” he said.
Work can begin after the preconstruction meeting, which is typically held four to six weeks after a contract is awarded.
Plans call for rebuilding all four ramps and replacing the existing bridge with a new bridge that will have three 12-foot wide lanes in both directions with 12-foot wide shoulders. The total width of the new span is 97 feet, 3 inches.
State Rep. Kevin Brooks, 24th Legislative District, said, "This project is as much about safety as it is about improving current ramp conditions. The new bridge will be six lanes across — two lanes in each direction and two turn lanes for much safer access. It will be a substantial and significant improvement for Exit 20."
Simpson will begin the first phase of construction by building a portion of the new bridge on the north side of the existing bridge. Once that is completed, traffic will be redirected onto the new section. The old section will be demolished and the rest of the new section will be built.
The project completion date is Nov. 15, 2015.
“The sooner we can get done with it the better,” Eskew said. “It is of no benefit to a contractor for a contract to go longer than it should.”
Brooks said, "We are very grateful to Commissioner Schroer, Paul Degges and the entire TDOT team for their commitment and efforts on behalf of Exit 20 and all of Bradley County. This was a team effort, begun many years ago, long before my time in office. We are grateful to finally see this dream of a new and improved Exit 20 become a reality."
Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Region 2 Community Relations Officer, said more information would be available about the work schedule and the impact on traffic movement after the preconstruction meeting. She said TDOT will closely observe the traffic situation and work with Cleveland Utilities to monitor and adjust signal timing if necessary.
“We will do as much work as possible during nonpeak hours, which may include some nighttime work,” she said. “Our goal is to safely and successfully construct both projects with as little impact on the traveling public as possible.
“Of course, there may be times that we affect traffic, but we will try our best to keep those times to a minimum. We will also notify the public ahead of time through the Cleveland Banner of any planned work that may adversely affect traffic.”
A separate project, but geographically related to Exit 20, is the new interchange across APD 40 located about midway between I-75 and South Lee Highway. The interchange will connect Spring Branch Industrial Park, and the southeast and northeast quadrants of Exit 20 and APD 40 to the interstate. The schedule for the SR-311 (APD 40) interchange project has been adjusted to accommodate design modifications necessary to avoid excessively high utility relocation costs for two petroleum pipelines that are crossed by this project.
According to TDOT, the ramps on the east side of this interchange are now being designed with bridges to completely span over the petroleum pipelines to prevent relocation of these utility facilities. All other design facets of the interchange layout will be as presented in the public hearings that were held for this project. The revised schedule for advertising the construction contract on the interchange is late summer 2014.
The project will take approximately two years to complete.
Talley Construction won the Durkee Road project on the east side of Cleveland with a bid of $3.69 million. Greenstar, Aurora, Colo., $3.77 million; Highways Inc., $4.21 million; Thomas Brothers Construction Co., $4.31 million; and Steve Williams Construction, $4.44 million.
Plans show realignment of the intersection at Benton Pike and Michigan Avenue Road, widening Durkee Road and intersection improvements at Waterlevel Highway (SR-40). The work is part of the State Industrial Access road improvements program to ease traffic to and from the new Whirlpool plant located on Benton Pike.
State Rep. Eric Watson, District 22, said the Durkee Road project is one of which he is very proud.
“It is going to be a significant improvement in the community that has been in the works for two years to accommodate the new Whirlpool plant on Benton Pike,” he said. “I’m very happy for all the road and highway projects that has been built and improved in the 22nd District.”
He cited U.S. Highway 64, U.S. Highway 411 in Polk County and future expansion of Georgetown Road.
“The 22nd District rated in the top three last year for the most projects in the state because anytime you have a need, you have to express the need and Bradley County has done that very well,” he said.
Brooks said TDOT let 96 road projects on May 24. It was the largest single state letting since 2009. That American Recovery and Reinvestment Act letting included 113 "shovel ready" projects.
“This letting totaled over $17 million in local Bradley County road projects. We are elated that so many Bradley County projects were included this year," he said. “Appreciation is also given to Gov. (Bill) Haslam and the administration for including our Bradley County projects in the Budget, and to our colleagues in the House and Senate for appropriating the funds from the start of design to the finished construction."
In addition to the two major multi-year projects, TDOT also let two resurfacing projects that were both awarded to Talley. The company will resurface 6.29 miles of U.S. Highway 11. Completion date is on or before Oct. 31. Talley bid $837,919. Wright Brothers bid $941,975.
The second resurfacing job calls for a thin mix on 5.53 miles of Eureka Road (S. R. 306) from Georgetown Road (SR 60) to Eureka (SR 308). Completion date is on or before Sept. 30. Talley’s bid was $370,195. The Wright Brothers bid was $423,719.