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  • Writer's pictureWTS Sacramento

Recap - October 2021 Lunch Program

For the October Lunch Program, WTS Sacramento hosted Kevin Ordway, Senior Civil Engineer for Placer County to discuss the Yankee Jim's Bridge Replacement Project, one of the first in the region to use the Construction Manager/General Contract (CMGC) delivery process instead of the traditional Design, Bid, Build (DBB) method. The project is designing a bridge to replace the existing one-lane suspension bridge which dates back to 1930 and has one of the lowest safety ratings in the state. The narrow existing bridge makes access to the neighboring Colfax and Foresthill communities difficult. In 2012, a wildfire broke out on the south side of the bridge, but emergency vehicles were unable to cross Yankee Jim's bridge and had to drive around to access the fire, significantly delaying response time.

Kevin began his presentation by discussing the County's purpose in seeking CMGC delivery process. The bridge is in a river canyon with steep grades on both ends, the river below contains protected species and has uncontrolled water flows, and wildfire risk is high in the area. These conditions constrain how the bridge can be constructed, making it critical to have the construction contractor's perspective in the design phase. Kevin highlighted some of the innovative solutions developed as a result of using the CMGC process for this project. These included the use of the existing bridge, with some reinforcements, to carry materials during construction and the creation of a parking lot on one side of the bridge to make use of cut dirt on-site. While both cost-saving measures, these innovations have faced difficulty in getting Caltrans approval given the eligibility requirements of the Highway Bridge Program. Kevin indicated there are a number of drawbacks to CMGC process, including the time and cost of each delivery phase and the extra effort required to keep the team coordinated and engaged.

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