Creating opportunities, keeping traffic moving

When the Oregon Legislature funded the third Oregon Transportation Investment Act in 2003, it tasked ODOT with repairing or replacing hundreds of aging highway bridges statewide on a tight timeline, while also stimulating the economy and maintaining mobility during construction. ODOT bundled, or grouped, adjacent bridges into contracts of varying sizes, with some big enough for large firms to bid on profitably and some small enough that local firms could successfully compete. As a result, roughly 84 percent of bridge program contracts went to Oregon-based firms, creating and keeping jobs in Oregon.

The agency staged construction in five overlapping stages, grouped by highway corridors across the state, completing construction on alternative highway routes before beginning the bulk of the work on Interstate 5 and Interstate 84. This strategy created unrestricted freight routes for commercial vehicles and kept traffic moving during construction, because it limited the number of work zones on a given stretch of road. Bundling the projects also allowed contractors to achieve economies of scale in performing design work, ordering materials, and mobilizing equipment and labor, which reduced program costs.