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Three companies bid on Brotherhood Bridge project

Highest bid is close to $30 million

Posted: December 19, 2013 - 1:10am

Bidding closed Tuesday afternoon on a state construction project that will expand Brotherhood Bridge, as well as reconfigure the parking lot and build a multipurpose path at the nearby trailhead, Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said.

Three companies put in bids for the project. Orion Marine Contractors, Inc., a nation-wide company with an office in Anchorage, bid about $25.2 million. Anchorage- and Sitka-based ASRC McGraw Constructors — which most recently completed renovation projects at Juneau International Airport, Gastineau Community School and Auke Bay Elementary School — bid about $27.4 million. And Anchorage-based Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., an office of nation-wide Kiewit, bid about $29.6 million. The department’s engineer’s estimate was about $22.6 million.

“Sometimes we’re close, sometimes we’re way over, sometimes we’re under,” Woodrow said. “Sometimes we learn more about what the cost of the project is going to be once we get bids, which was the case this time.”

Initial department estimates were between $20 and $30 million for the project, which will be the city’s largest transportation construction undertaking for the next few years.

The bid opening was scheduled for Dec. 12, but was delayed when a potential bidder asked for “additional geologic data,” Woodrow said. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2014 and end in fall 2015, according to a previous Empire report. The current bridge will stay open throughout the project to prevent traffic delays as the new, four-lane bridge is built in phases.

The Brotherhood Bridge, spanning the Mendenhall River on Glacier Highway, was dedicated in 1965, and was
designed by Alaska Native engineer Roy Peratrovich, who grew up in Juneau. The bridge was named for the Alaska Native Brotherhood.

Peratrovich, who graduated from the University of Washington in 1957, got a job right out of college designing bridges for the city of Seattle. But, when Alaska became a state, he felt its pull.

“I couldn’t stop the urge; I had to return,” Peratrovich said.

He was “one of the first Alaska Natives to be registered as a professional engineer in Alaska,” he said. Although the Brotherhood Bridge design was pretty straight-forward, Peratrovich said, it sticks out in his mind because of the medallions he created for it, honoring the ANB, and the bridge’s dedication ceremony in 1965, which his father, uncle and grandfather attended.

He said he’s been helping DOT during its project to update the bridge, providing the department with background information, particularly about the restoration and incorporation of the medallions.

“I told them about the meaning of things and how the whole idea came about,” he said.

When the original Brotherhood Bridge was designed, the state Department of Highways, now the DOT, was brand new. Its 12 engineers worked in a one-room facility downtown, Peratrovich said.

“When we were designing bridges, we didn’t know where some of the bridges were that we had inherited from the federal government,” he said.

The Brotherhood Bridge “was not one of my biggest projects,” and took very little time to build, Peratrovich said. In a few months, the design was set. It didn’t take too long after that to get it approved. Within a year, the bridge was complete.

“We didn’t have the environmental division we have now, so we didn’t have to take too much time,” he said. “There were certain things engineering-wise that we knew we needed to do right, so we tried to do those.”

The plans for the new Brotherhood Bridge can be found online at http://www.dot.state.ak.us/stwddes/addenda/40715/Plans.pdf.

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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