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News Release
Oct. 8, 2007

Workzone at night

Mn/DOT awards contract for I-35W Bridge replacement project


ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Transportation today awarded a contract to Flatiron-Manson, a joint venture, for the design and construction of the Interstate 35W bridge replacement project. Following the contract award, Mn/DOT released the details of the design and construction proposal submitted by the Flatiron-Manson and FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc. team.

“We are very pleased to announce this award and get started on this project,” said Lt. Gov. and Mn/DOT Commissioner Carol Molnau. “Flatiron brings an outstanding reputation to the job and has provided a design that will result in a bridge that fits well in the environment and will serve the driving public for decades.”

“We are excited to be working with the Flatiron-Manson and FIGG,” said Jon Chiglo, Mn/DOT project manager for the I-35W bridge project. “Flatiron brings a very experienced team to the project. Their attention to detail was apparent in the technical proposal and its evaluation score. We’re looking forward to working together with some of the most awarded bridge designers and builders in the country. We will build a bridge for the future that will be a source of pride for Minnesotans.”

The primary theme outlined in the design proposal is “Arches, Water, Reflection.” It includes a signature bridge, lighting and landscaping that seeks to paint an archway over the Mississippi River while respecting the area’s surroundings, history and the architecture of nearby bridges and buildings.

“In addition to designing the best and safest bridge, we want to create a bridge that reflects the values of this community,” said Linda Figg, president and Director of Bridge Art for FIGG, the lead designer on the I-35W bridge project. “The concept we submitted was designed to complement and highlight the new bridge’s surroundings and properly remember those lost in the tragedy of Aug. 1. We look forward to sharing our ideas with Minnesotans in the coming weeks and getting their input on the final design of this important project.”

The Flatiron-Manson and FIGG team focused on building the best and safest bridge in all aspects of its proposal. Some of the particular highlights include:

  • Structural enhancements, including the use of high performance concrete to provide superior durability and multiple levels of structural redundancy to provide a long-lasting bridge for the future that will be economical to maintain.
  • A state-of-the-art sensor and monitoring system built into the bridge that will allow for easier and more comprehensive monitoring throughout the bridge’s lifetime.
  • A comprehensive safety program that will be implemented throughout all aspects of the design and construction process.

“Our top priority is safety — both throughout construction and during the entire life of the bridge,” said Flatiron-Manson project manager Peter Sanderson. “We will bring our expertise and proven safety record to bear on every aspect of this project.”

Most of the components of the concrete bridge outlined in the Flatiron-Manson and FIGG proposal will be built in Minnesota, with Minnesota materials by Minnesota workers, Sanderson said. The project will open a site later this month in St. Paul to begin pre-casting the concrete components, which will be delivered by barge to the I-35W Bridge site.

"One of the unique aspects of the Flatiron-Manson and FIGG proposal is the extent to which Minnesotans will help shape the final bridge design as well," said Chiglo. "FIGG will invite members of the public to review various aesthetic design options and give input on what they would like to see in the final bridge design. These elements could include lighting, the look of bridge supports and other features. This process will occur before design elements are finalized."

Over the next several weeks, Mn/DOT will announce opportunities for the public to view the bridge design concepts and take part in the public engagement process. Meanwhile, Flatiron is preparing to break ground on the $234 million project in mid-October.

“We’re focused on getting subcontractors and other details in place so we can promptly begin construction and have travelers back on a bridge by the end of 2008,” Sanderson said. “Flatiron and FIGG have a long history of working together and we’ve structured our team in a way that will keep the project on schedule and on budget.”

Flatiron, headquartered in Longmont, Colo. is consistently ranked among the top bridge and highway builders in North America. Flatiron has extensive construction experience on major bridges, including the I-10 Bridges over Escambia Bay, Fla. — a $243 million design-build project built on an accelerated schedule — a portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the Sagadahoc Bridge over the Kennebec River, Maine, a design-build project designed by FIGG.

FIGG, with a regional office in the Twin Cities, is an internationally recognized bridge design firm that has earned 268 design awards – including three of the five Presidential Awards ever given for bridge design. FIGG is headquartered in Tallahassee, Fla., and has designed numerous emergency replacement bridges, including Florida’s I-275 Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Maine’s Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Obervatory. It also designed the Wabasha Freedom Bridge in St. Paul.

Other members of the Flatiron-Manson I-35W Bridge team include:

  • Johnson Brothers of Minneapolis, which has worked on Minnesota bridges including the Hennepin Avenue Suspension, Third Avenue, Franklin Avenue, Plymouth Avenue, Lowry Avenue, Broadway Street and the Stone Arch bridges in Minneapolis.
  • Manson Construction Co. of Seattle, a leader in the marine construction industry that specializes in bridge and other waterway construction.
  • TKDA, a St. Paul engineering firm that worked with FIGG on the design and construction of the Wabasha Freedom Bridge.

Other subcontractors on the project will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

A copy of the Flatiron-Manson and FIGG proposal can be found at www.mndot.gov.

Minnesota Department of Transportation
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395 John Ireland Blvd.
Mail Stop 150
St. Paul, MN 55155-1899
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