MICHIGAN – With hundreds of local bridges in serious or critical condition and $1.5 billion needed to fix them, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) took action in testing a unique bridge bundling approach to get these structures fixed – and fast.
Bridge bundling is the process of working on multiple bridge locations under one contract, which expedites construction and saves money as well. While MDOT has applied the bundling concept to state-owned structures, this is the first time it’s being used at the local level, targeting 19 bridges across the state through this initial $25 million effort.
Benesch is serving as the lead design firm for the pilot program and is working with two contractors to deliver the work, which entails the superstructure replacement of the bridge decks and supporting beams.
“Bundling provides efficiencies, which is important when faced with so many structures in disrepair and public safety on the line,” said Ihab Darwish, Benesch’s Design Project Manager. “Construction on these bridges have 60 or 90-day construction durations, so covering several projects under one contract is also more cost-effective because it streamlines the permitting process.”
The bridge bundling pilot program officially kicked off in March to repair seven of the 19 bridges on the list, with the remaining structures to follow throughout the year.
“Michigan has approximately 800 local bridges in need of repair statewide, so this pilot is a small but great start to help chip away at that number,” Darwish said. “It will also help to develop policies and procedures that carry it into the future.”