Sapp listed as potential contractor for bridge project

A team of companies will repair 800 “bad” Missouri bridges after a bidding process.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:51 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

More than two months after Gov. Matt Blunt declared that the state would strive to fix 800 of the state’s worst bridges within six years, the Missouri Department of Transportation has announced that Columbia construction company Emery Sapp & Sons Inc. is a member of one of four teams of construction companies capable of completing the project.

Emery Sapp & Sons is a part of Partnership Missouri, a team whose major partners include Ransfield Services, CH2M Hill, Macquarie Investment Holdings, DMJM Harris/AECOM, HDR and The Vandiver Group Inc. Emery Sapp & Sons’ team, along with three others short-listed by MoDOT last week, submitted their qualifications for the Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Program on Nov. 9. Each team comprises from four to more than a dozen companies.

The teams will submit bids for repairing 800 bridges that MoDOT has identified as “bad.” Fourteen of those spans are in Boone County.

The winner of the bid is expected to be announced in May. That team will begin upgrading the listed bridges by the end of summer and will have until 2012 to finish the work. The winning team will also be contracted to maintain those bridges for at least the next 25 years.

The projects will cost an estimated total of $400 million to $600 million.

Lowell Patterson, a former Columbia public works director and a spokesman for Emery Sapp & Sons, said maintenance of the bridges is the biggest part of the project.

“The long-term maintenance is one of the most discussed (issues),” he said. “At this point there are so many more questions than there are answers.”

In a news release, Ken Warbritton, director of the improvement project for MoDOT, said each short-listed team includes “companies with a blend of strong local, national and international reputations.”

“We look forward to working through the procurement process in the coming months to select the best team to improve (the bridges),” he said.

Bob Burnett, an engineer for the Iowa-based Snyder and Associates and former MoDOT employee, said the project is ambitious.

“I think as far as we’re concerned, it’s our job to get it done,” he said. “You just take a bite at a time.”

Burnett said the size of the project — more than 130 bridges a year — will be a difficult aspect of the endeavor.

MoDOT spokesman Bob Brendel said the project’s scope called for a group of more than one contractor. Each group has similar design, construction, maintenance, public information and finance components.

“Each team is put together a little differently,” Brendel said. “Those five functions are critical to being able to complete this project.”

Over the next six to eight weeks, the teams will outline their proposals for the project.

As for the team featuring Emery Sapp & Sons, the question is: Is it up to the job?

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge,” Patterson said. “It’s going to take a team to accomplish this.”

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