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GDOT Offers $3.1M Bonus To Finish Bridge By Late May

Russell McMurry, the state transportation commissioner said crews are fully involved in the reconstruction.
Russell McMurry, the state transportation commissioner said crews are fully involved in the reconstruction.
Credit Adhiti Bandlamudi / WABE
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CW Matthews, the contractor on the Interstate 85 overpass repairs, could earn more than $3 million in bonuses for finishing early. 

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The Georgia Department of Transportation set the completion date for June 15, but said if CW Matthews can finish three weeks earlier, by May 25, it’ll get a $1.5 million bonus. If the contractor finishes the work by May 21, it’ll get $2 million. And for every day before May 21, it’ll get $200,000 for a potential grand total of $3.1 million. 

“We do think these earlier dates may be achievable, and I say ‘may’ because this means everything has to happen perfectly,” said Russell McMurry, the state transportation commissioner.

Weather could also be a factor.

“Now, weather does not play a big impact until you get to actual building the driving surface that you would ride on,” he said.

Crews have completed demolition and are fully involved in the reconstruction. Thirteen columns were damaged from the fire, but have been repaired and replaced.

Now, crews are working on the supports the beams sit on. Sixty-one were damaged from the fire, but 20 replacement beams have already been constructed and will be delivered starting Monday.

After all the beams have been constructed and delivered, workers can start building the decks — the driving surface of the bridge. And that’s when the weather really matters. 

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said he’s very pleased with how far the construction has come.

“But I’m here basically to offer support to these guys to make sure there’s no federal limitation to whatever they can do here and do it the fastest they can,” Perdue said.

Gov. Nathan Deal said he asked U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao for more federal funding on April 3 after the Trump administration pledged $10 million to help fund the state’s efforts to rebuild the I-85 overpass quickly.

McMurry, too, said while he is grateful for the $10 million in federal funding, GDOT will need more to finish the project. McMurry said he will probably get that money from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FEMA).