On May 26, 2002, a pair of errant barges collided with the I-40 Bridge spanning the Arkansas River, causing 10 vehicles to plunge 60 ft. into the water, resulting in 14 fatalities. Four spans and three piers – a third of the 1,989-ft.-long bridge – collapsed into the river upon impact.
On July 29, 2002 – just 46 days and 16 hours after Notice to Proceed – Gilbert Central Corp., a subsidiary of Kiewit Corporation, achieved early substantial completion of what has been called the fastest completion of a project of its type in U.S. history.
Gilbert Central Corp. submitted an A+B bid to reopen the highway 15 days ahead of the client's 72-day maximum time allowance, and later beat its own aggressive schedule by 10 days and 8 hours. This enabled more than 22,000 vehicles per day to resume travel on the bridge, alleviating millions of dollars in economic impacts.
The scope of work involved constructing a 524-ft.-long combination concrete girder and structural steel bridge that would tie into the existing four-lane structure. Crews constructed three piers, four spans, an abutment, a 30-ft.-long concrete approach slab and a 40-ft.-long roadway section. All work was performed within a tight, two-acre site.