What’s the purpose of this project?
To improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety. The project will add left and right turning lanes, for a total of five lanes, and move parallel parking spots to side streets to increase the effective capacity of the roadway. Sidewalk extensions to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, along with additional landscaping, will enhance pedestrian safety.
When will it be finished?
Late Spring/Early Summer 2020.
Why was the contractor given 547 days to complete this project?
The project is complex and requires a large amount of work. This isn’t a simple resurfacing job. ALDOT is increasing the effective capacity of Lurleen Wallace Boulevard by moving the parallel parking to the side streets and installing turning lanes for northbound and southbound traffic. The City of Tuscaloosa is paying to move and upgrade utilities, which requires several months due to coordination, testing and unforeseen circumstances encountered underground that must be dealt with before they can continue.
This project also takes place with traffic moving through the work zone. Approximately 72,000 vehicles travel Lurleen Wallace Boulevard each day, so ALDOT can’t close the road. Instead, we require the contractor to keep two lanes open during daylight hours, with exception to emergency repairs, to better accommodate traffic.
Why are we not seeing workers on site every day with favorable weather?
When utility work is ongoing it limits what the contractor can do, which is why fewer workers are on site. Sometimes, work on one part of the project can’t continue until another part is completed. If the contractor discovers material underground, that must be addressed before continuing.
Also, all intersections can't be closed at the same time and the amount of crews change throughout the project due to the work coordination. All crews can't work in the same location and the process to complete the work must be completed in a particular order to minimize conflicts with work that overlaps. The contractor is trying to expedite this project by having some crews work during the day and others at night.
Why are we losing travel lanes in both directions with virtually no progress being made in either direction?
Progress is being made, though it may not seem that way above ground. Utility work is usually the first step in a project and must be significantly completed before the road contractor can work. The contractor must close lanes for safety reasons when they are working nearby. Materials and equipment can’t constantly be moved, either.
Who is the prime contractor?
S.T. Bunn Construction Co. Inc.
What’s the cost?
The total cost is $23.7 million. ALDOT is paying $18.5 and the City of Tuscaloosa is paying $5.2 million.
What are the liquidated damages on this project?
$2,500 per day
What are the restrictions on the use of sub-contractors?
ALDOT must pre-approve the sub-contractors.
What are the work restrictions placed on the contractor as far as hours and days they cannot work?
The contractor must maintain a minimum of two lanes in each direction during daylight hours. The contractor may reduce traffic to one lane between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. A minimum of two lanes must remain open on Highway 69 from Thursday at 10 p.m. through Sunday at 8 p.m. when the University of Alabama has a home football game. Local access to side streets is permitted.
How is the contractor being paid? Is it a draw against work completed per month based on inspections each month by an ALDOT inspector?
The contractor is paid monthly by completion of work performed based on the bid unit prices.