GDOT gives $16.6M pricetag for I-85 reconstruction

ATLANTA — Just one day after the Georgia Department of Transportation denied an open records request by Channel 2 Action News over contracts to rebuild the Interstate 85 overpass bridge, GDOT is talking about how much money it will cost for the project.

GDOT held a news conference Tuesday to give an update on the reconstruction of the bridge.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant questioned GDOT Construction Director Marc Mastronardi about the financial impact the project is having on tax payers.


"It's expensive, but we think the rewards will be well justified," Mastronardi told Diamant about the project. "In terms of progress, we couldn't be happier."

Mastronardi was upbeat about the project’s quick progress Tuesday, and, for the most part, equally as upbeat about negotiations with contractor C.W. Matthews, on the price tag.

"We let them show us their number first, which is always a good measure, and we countered back with what we thought it could be and should be," Mastronardi said.

Material like fast-curing concrete to speed things up, bumped up the price.

In the end, GDOT said the cost to replace the bridge will be $11.9 million.

Material such as fast-curing concrete to speed things up bumped up the price.

Demolition costs to remove the damaged components totaled $1.6 million.

Plus, GDOT announced they would pay up to $3.1 million in incentives for C.W. Matthews, depending on when all the work gets done.

In total, the maximum cost for the project could reach $16.6 million.

"The negotiation was very open, very honest, very forthcoming," Mastronardi told Diamant.

Either way, taxpayers will pick up the tab.

The Federal Highway Administration has already released $10 million in emergency funds and GDOT said the feds will pay 90 percent of the rest, leaving GDOT to figure out how to make up about a $1.6 million dollar gap, most likely putting other projects on the back burner.

"We have to make strategic decisions on what to offload, to move temporarily. Certainly you don't plan for events like this, but you have items on your list of things to do that you can delay a little further," Mastronardi said.

GDOT said it's comfortable taxpayers got a good deal on the project.

Diamant spoke to C.W. Matthews' president Tuesday. He said in situations like this, where suppliers drop what they're doing to produce materials, and with his crews working overtime to get the work done, the costs are in line with what one might expect.