Last Friday, the Nebraska Department of Transportation announced Hawkins Construction of Omaha has been awarded a contract to reconstruct and repair two Highway 12 bridges west of Niobrara.
The March 2019 flooding caused significant damage to the approach and girders of the bridge over the Niobrara River and completely washed out the bridge over the Mormon Canal.
The department has authorized Hawkins to begin immediate work to repair the Niobrara River Bridge and install a temporary bridge to provide access over the Mormon Canal while a new permanent bridge is built.
The department has worked closely with Alfred Benesch & Company to expedite the design of the reconstruction and has set an aggressive schedule with Hawkins to have the temporary roadway in service by Aug. 15.
“It’s been a journey to get to today,” said Kyle Schneweis, NDOT director. “The Niobrara west bridges have been a challenge. We literally watched the canal bridge float down the river, and over the last several months have been working every angle to deliver a feasible and reliable solution to the community. The schedule is an aggressive one, but Benesch, Hawkins and the NDOT will continue to work together on opportunities to streamline, while hoping for dry weather.”
The $44,170,911 contract covers the 24-foot wide, single-lane temporary bridge and the permanent bridge over the Mormon Canal and repairs to the existing bridge over Niobrara River.
Hawkins crews were set to begin work at the site today, Wednesday, June 5, but had previously begun the process of assembling subcontractors and mobilizing equipment and materials. The complexity of the project, coupled with the amount of infrastructure work in the region, will require Hawkins to bring together a team from multiple states.
“This is a huge undertaking for Hawkins,” said Chris Hawkins, chief operating officer. “In less than two weeks, we were able to work through the challenges of the design with NDOT and outline a road to completion that has the Niobrara community traveling safely across both bridges before Labor Day.”
Prior reconstruction efforts in the area include repair work to damaged sections of Highway 12 east of Niobrara, where K. Porter Construction was able to rebuild approximately one-fourth of a mile of pavement in just 24 days.
The NDOT also announced last week that Herbst Construction has begun work on Highway 116, south of Dixon, and Highway 13, east of Hadar, and that ME Collins has finished work on Highway 15, south of Schuyler, ahead of schedule and traffic is flowing. Additionally, Simon Construction has been awarded the project east of Boelus on Highway 58.
Currently, the NDOT is in negotiations with a contractor to repair a Highway 11 bridge, south of Butte, and expects to have contractors selected on the bridge projects east of Pender, on Highway 94, and southeast of Stanton, on N-57, in the coming week. The magnitude of damages and the technical complexities they present to bridge and roadway designers are significant.