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Budget for Wilson Bridge Unrealistic, Experts Say

June 6, 2000

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Federal highway officials are looking for ways to cut construction costs of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, DC, but the measures may be unworkable, transportation experts warn
.
The 12-lane replacement of the bridge is going to cost way too much, and experts say the measures being proposed are going to be nearly impossible to implement.
According to the Washington Post, federal officials say they could eliminate the project's overtime budget by warning contractors upfront that they cannot put workers on extra hours. However, extensive overtime labor is a must if the bridge is to be completed by 2004, when experts say the bridge would have to be closed to truck traffic because of structural deficiencies.
Officials have also suggested reducing the amount of money budgeted for unforeseen design changes, and for supplies such as pipes, concrete and steel, but experts say the dollar amounts are not going to be enough. Funds set aside to relieve traffic congestion during construction are also less than originally planned.
Highway officials began work on the revisions after the U.S. Department of Transportation concluded that replacing the bridge would cost $2.47 billion, or $500 million more than originally estimated.
The bridge is the only one in the nation that is federally owned, and is a key component of Interstate 95, a major East Coast corridor.

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