Knik Arm Crossing costs rise

By Richard High13 February 2009

The US$ 686 million Knik Arm Crossing will connect state capital Anchorage, on the southeast side of

The US$ 686 million Knik Arm Crossing will connect state capital Anchorage, on the southeast side of the Knik Arm with Mat-Su Borough on the northwest side.

Alaska's Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) new cost estimate for the Knik Arm Crossing has been set at US$ 686 million.

In a statement the DOT&PF, in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), said it had hired an independent third party estimator - US-based National Constructors Group using preliminary plans and quantities supplied by Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) - to develop the cost values.

"While the total of US$ 686 million compares closely with the recent update of costs released by KABATA, there are still costs associated with final design, permitting, and other unknowns that may impact the overall cost of this project" said Frank Richards, deputy commissioner of Highways and Public Facilities, DOT&PF.

Kevin P. Hemenway, CFO of KABATA, said in a statement, "All prior cost estimates were performed by independent engineering firms and the primary reason for [the] increase is simply cost escalation/inflation due to delays in [the] Federal Highway Administration completing the environmental process. The estimates being updated are not likely for the bridge that will ultimately be built, as it is being procured as a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) concession."

The two-lane bridge, originally expected to cost US$ 450 million, will connect Alaska's largest city Anchorage, on the southeast side of the Knik Arm with Mat-Su Borough on the northwest side. Cost are now put at about US$ 99 million for the west roads, US$ 214 million for the east roads, and US$ 373 million for the 2.5 km-long bridge.

If approved construction is expected to start in April, with completion scheduled for 2014.
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