Incentives make up half of about $900,000 for I-244 bridge repair
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Monday, January 07, 2013
1/07/13 at 2:44 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY — Transportation officials on Monday approved an agreed-upon incentive payment of about $445,000 on top of a more than $450,000 emergency fix to a downtown bridge damaged in October.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation commissioners approved the incentive of $20,000 per day that was part of a 34-day repair completion contract.
The contractor, Manhattan Road and Bridge, finished the repair to Interstate 244 above Charles Page Boulevard in 11 days and 23 hours, according to ODOT records.
A truck’s hydraulic lift — which was in the raised position — struck the newly constructed Interstate 244 bridge above Charles Page Boulevard on Oct. 15, officials said.
ODOT officials said incentives and disincentives are common pieces of many of their contracts and determined by how much drivers in the area are affected by the delays in traffic.
About 64,000 cars travel across the damaged bridge every day when it’s open, transportation officials said.
“We had several work zones already in that area,” ODOT Chief Engineer Gary Evans said. “That created an extremely difficult situation for us.”
Evans said their entire cost of the repair and incentives — about $900,000 — will be billed to the company that owned the commercial truck allegedly responsible for the damage.
Also at Monday’s meeting, ODOT officials discussed a plan to improve employee retention rates.
ODOT staff is down about 30 percent since 1990 to about 2,300 employees, Evans said.
“The majority of that has been intentional until the last year or so when the turnover rate has grown much higher,” he said. “When that happens, we have to look at what’s causing that.”
ODOT’s plan involves an increase to some minimum pay levels and to increase communication with staff to talk about job satisfaction and working conditions, Evans said.
The pay adjustments went into effect Dec. 29 and resulted in a 3.3 percent increase in payroll through the end of this fiscal year and a 6.6 percent increase per year in the future — an increase of about $7.2 million, Evans said.