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January 9, 2013

White Construction wins I-69 contract

3-mile stretch between Crane, Bloomington

TERRE HAUTE — White Construction, a Clinton-based heavy equipment contractor, has won a $57-million contract to build three miles of the new Interstate 69 in Greene County.

The Indiana Department of Transportation announced this week the company was the lowest of five bidders for the section of new interstate, which is designed to connect Indianapolis and Evansville.

The three-mile section White Construction will be building will cover some difficult terrain, which accounts for the relatively high cost of the bid, said Elliott Sturgeon, I-69 project manager for the Indiana Department of Transportation. The area includes significant elevation changes of up to 125 feet, rocky terrain and a need for long bridges, he said.

In this section of I-69, “you’ll see a lot of exposed rock, like when you drive through Tennessee,” Sturgeon said.

In comparison, sections of I-69 crossing flat farmland have cost about $10- to 12-million per mile, Sturgeon said.

Even with all the complications, White Construction’s bid was more than $261,000 below engineering estimates, INDOT stated in a news release issued Monday. And that has been typical for the entire project.

“Every job that we’ve awarded so far has been under the engineer’s estimate,” Sturgeon said.

It was not immediately known whether White Construction will subcontract the job or will need to expand its workforce for the project. Company officials with that information were not available for comment Tuesday.

The three-mile piece of I-69 awarded to White Construction is part of “Section Four” of the roadway – a 27-mile stretch between Crane and Bloomington. One bid remains to be awarded for that section, INDOT officials said. White Construction, or any other pre-qualified contractor, would be eligible for that work, Sturgeon added.

“Section Four” is set to be open for traffic sometime next year, Sturgeon said.

In November, 67 miles of I-69 were opened for traffic between Crane and Evansville. Officials said that new section alone will save about 30 minutes of travel time when compared to other routes between those two points.

The final phase of I-69, which has been in the planning stages for decades, will connect Bloomington with Indianapolis.

“Today, we’re one step closer to connecting with State Road 37 near Bloomington,” said Samuel Sarvis, INDOT’s deputy commissioner for major programs, in a statement issued Monday. “We know that I-69 will improve the safety of the motoring public and become a spark for economic growth along the corridor.”

White Construction has projects across the United States and Canada “so it’s very nice to have a job close to home,” said Alyson White Hanson, director of marketing for White Construction.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

 

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