Beaver's bid was the lowest of the six bids submitted on the project.
Construction of the interchange is expected to begin within the next few weeks and the completion date is slated for June 2007, according to Stephanie Filson, public information officer for District 10, Ohio Department of Transportation.
“The Rocksprings Interchange project concept came after the continued rise in traffic volume following the completion of the U.S. 33 Athens to Darwin Connector and the U.S. 33 Ravenswood Connector,” Filson explained.
“The department expects to see this number increase upon the completion of the Nelsonville Bypass by the end of this decade.” she added. “Also affecting this area is the recent completion of the Lancaster Bypass. All of these projects combined serve motorists traveling from central Ohio to the southern Ohio border and beyond.”
Over the past several months, ODOT has been clearing trees in preparation for the construction to begin. Filson said that the contract price exceeded ODOT's original estimate price of $5.7 for a number of reasons.
“Primarily, the increased cost is attributed to the national trend in rising material and fuel costs. In just the past three years, we've seen a 60-75 percent increase in the unit costs for asphalt and concrete - not to mention recent soaring fuel costs. This directly impacts the overall cost of a project such as this interchange,” she said.
“Other factors to consider in the cost construction includes four miles of pavement and one million cubic yards of earthwork. The increase in cost still fell within ODOT Central Office's percentage threshold,” Filson explained. “Once a project increases a specific percent above the estimate, it must be thoroughly reviewed before an award is authorized. This project did not rise beyond that threshold.”
“ODOT is very excited to see this project awarded and on its way to construction,” said Filson. “The result will be a safer, more efficient facility for motorists using U.S. 33 and State Route 7.”