Law enforcement, traffic control part of $16.6M price tag for I-85 reconstruction

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has uncovered the price tag for special material used to speed up the Interstate 85 bridge rebuilding process.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant also learned some of the costs go beyond building the actual bridge.

As work on the site runs around the clock, Diamant finally got his hands on a copy of the contract the Georgia Department of Transportation signed with contractor C.W. Matthews Construction for that work.

[ATLANTA BRIDGE COLLAPSE: Traffic map, alternate routes, LIVE reconstruction camera, etc]

"I think the progress on that replacement is coming along exceptionally well, and I’m very pleased to see how fast they have responded to this crisis,” Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said Thursday.

Deal’s glowing assessment came shortly before he addressed efforts to recoup the costs from the project’s $16.6 million price tag.

"We're not going to just be satisfied with the initial installment from the federal government," Deal said.

The Federal Highway Administration already released $10 million in taxpayer dollars in emergency funds, and GDOT said federal cash should cover 90 percent of the rest.


Through an open records request, Diamant obtained the two-inch thick contract for the project. Among the nine-page price schedule: certain higher-priced material to speed things up, like "24-hour accelerated strength” concrete – 537-cubic yards for more than $621,000.

"It's expensive, but we think the rewards will be well justified," said GDOT construction director Marc Mastronardi.

Diamant also found C.W. Matthews will charge the state up to $750,000 for “work zone law enforcement.” The contractor estimated 10,000 man-hours at a rate of $75 per hour. Plus, the bid included a nearly $800,000 lump sum charge for “traffic control,” which includes items like barricades, barrels, signs and fencing.

[PHOTOS: Interstate 85 bridge construction]

The state is still adding up other post-collapse costs, mainly from MARTA and GRTA, which have been running extra trains and buses until the road reopens. Both agencies are eligible for federal assistance.

"We're going to ask them for more when we know what the final costs actually total out to be," Deal said.

C.W. Matthews’ president, Dan Garcia, confirmed the $75 per hour rate it's charging the state for police does include a margin of profit, but it's the same hourly rate the company charges on other interstate jobs.

GDOT says the bridge will open no later than June 15.