The Washington State Department of Transportation will pay its contractors a total of $71.2 million for repairing four pontoons and modifying another four pontoons for the new State Route 520 floating bridge.
WSDOT will pay $48.8 million to contractor Kiewit/General/Manson, A Joint Venture, for completing pontoon crack repairs. It will pay $22.4 million to pontoon construction contractor Kiewit-General for adding transverse post-tensioning to four pontoons while they were in the casting basin.
The payments will come from the SR 520 risk reserve created to cover unforeseen problems, which is part of the $2.7 billion SR 520 budget. With the charges paid, $100 million will remain in the risk reserve.
The new floating bridge is estimated to open to traffic in late 2015 or early 2016. The date is dependent on the schedule negotiated with contractors.
Additional tasks to be finalized later this year include adding transverse post-tensioning to more pontoons and deciding on a schedule for the pontoon construction project and the floating bridge and landings projects.
The current SR 520 bridge is 50 years old and vulnerable to earthquakes and windstorms. Construction on a replacement bridge began in April 2012. In February 2013, WSDOT acknowledged a design error that led to cracks in the replacement pontoons, requiring modifications to ensure the bridge would meet its 75-year design life.
Pontoon construction is underway at two casting basins in Aberdeen and Tacoma. Eight pontoons recently floated out of the Tacoma casting basin, meaning that 32 of the 77 pontoons needed to replace the bridge are complete.