Our team worked with the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) to raise 21 bridges on I-35 and I-335 between Topeka and the Oklahoma state line. The bridges need to be raised 12 to 21 inches to accommodate and encourage freight traffic, streamline maintenance, and improve safety in nearby communities. Using the engineer-procure-construct (EPC) design-build model, we cut the project cost by $1.3 million and reduced the time needed to complete the work by half for the initial 10 bridge lifts, as compared to traditional design-bid-build methods. Our team was selected using a best value approach that considered quality, price and schedule.
The design and construction teams worked together to develop the preliminary design, then carefully evaluated multiple subcontractors. This approach enabled a turnkey solution with fewer issues related to schedule, budget and available resources. Within four months of the first design meeting, the team set a guaranteed maximum price of $3.7 million for the project — a fraction of KTA’s $1.2 billion infrastructure upgrade budget for the next decade. Approximately one month later, the project team began construction.
Working with local construction companies as subcontractors, we began raising the clearance of bridges that were as low as 14 feet, 6 inches, to a minimum height of 15 feet, 9 inches. For each bridge, the construction team used 10 hydraulic pumps to carefully push 486,000 pounds of steel girders and concrete deck upward, 1 inch at a time. Within one day of pumping, shimming, inspecting and repeating, the bridges rest on new bearings, secured with steel anchor bolts. KTA has credited the team and the EPC method for streamlining the project process to deliver fast, cost-effective and safe results.
This program received a 2019 American Council of Engineering Companies Kansas Engineering Excellence Award.