Tribune-Courier News Editor
AURORA – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is hopeful of awarding a contract for the first phase of construction of two new bridges along U.S. 68 and Ky. 80.
Keith Todd, public information officer for the Cabinet, said bids for the project were due in Frankfort on Feb. 22. Engineers will review each bid to ensure it complies with specifications before awarding the Secretary of Transportation signs the contract.
“This actual bid is the first part of the project,” Todd said. “This will build the bridges over the lagoon on the Aurora side to access the main lake portion of the bridge. It will also build the causeway to get to the lake.”
The low bid was recognized to have been submitted by Jim Smith Contracting. Todd said typically, the review process takes about a week. Once the Secretary of Transportation signs off on the bid, it becomes a contract. The contractor will then be issued a notice to proceed. At that point the contractor contacts the local KYTC district office to set up a pre-construction meeting. During that meeting a timetable is established for work to start. Under normal conditions, work would be expected to begin within a few weeks of that meeting. Due to the size of this project, it could take a little longer for work to start due to the time required for the contractor to get materials and equipment to the site.
Todd said the deadline for bidding was the second for this phase of the project. The Cabinet revised specifications and requested new bids when a first round of bidding last fall came in over budget.
“This is the first step of many we will have to take to get to the new bridges,” Todd said.
The first stage of the project will cost $30 million, Todd said. The bridges over Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley have a total budget of $330 million for both. Todd said the Cabinet anticipates the new bridges will be opened in five or six years.
“There will be some dirt work and building of some pilings to form a basis for the pier,” Todd said. “We may be to the point where we can bid the main part of the bridge next fall or spring.”
Todd said the bridge construction will not affect traffic as it is 50 feet downstream from the existing bridge.
Work on the first phase will begin this spring. Todd said contractor engineers will meet with the cabinet’s staff to discuss construction before the project begins.