The long awaited progress to replace the Jimmie Davis Bridge made progress Tuesday, April 11 with the construction contract awarded to the James Construction Group.
Following the Feb. 28, 2023, opening of price proposals for the Jimmie Davis Bridge (LA 511) design-build project in Bossier and Caddo parishes, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has thoroughly evaluated the cost proposal and has decided to award the contract to James Construction Group, LLC.
Of the two teams who submitted proposals, James Construction Group was the successful proposer for the project, with a price bid of $361,743,367 and a proposed time of 1,768 calendar days (just under five years).
With the cost being substantially higher than what was anticipated, DOTD has carefully reviewed the proposal to determine the basis for the price bid. Professional staff has determined this proposal came in higher than expected due to increasing construction inflation, especially with structural pay items such as concrete and steel.
In its analyses, DOTD determined that the cost of some pay items are likely to continue to rise and, with an almost five-year construction period, the cost of this project includes some consideration of this risk. DOTD does not anticipate that a lower cost would be achievable with a new procurement or different project delivery method.
The original design-build procurement for this project was canceled in August 2022 due to lack of competition. DOTD reinitiated the procurement process in an expedited manner, incorporating changes to address feedback received. With this second procurement, DOTD continues to see high market cost and the absence of competition, paired with inflation over the construction duration.
DOTD worked with the Division of Administration to secure additional state general obligation bonds for the project prior to awarding the contract. The next step in the process is contract execution and the issuance of the notice to proceed.
The Jimmie Davis Bridge replacement project is being funded through allocations from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the American Rescue Plan Act, and state general obligation bonds. Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2024, with an estimated completion in late 2028, weather permitting.
The design-builder will construct a new four-lane bridge north of the current structure. Once complete, the Jimmie Davis Bridge will be rehabilitated into a linear park that will connect the existing bicycle and pedestrian trails across the Red River. At that point, the repurposed bridge will be transferred to Louisiana State Parks within the Office of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. Additionally, LA 511 (Jimmie Davis Highway) will be reconstructed from the east end of the Jimmie Davis Bridge to U.S. 71 (Barksdale Boulevard) into a four-lane, median-divided highway, providing a full-access interchange between LA 511 and Arthur Ray Teague Parkway.