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Letter to Chairman Oberstar Regarding the Award of St. Anthony's Falls (I-35 W) Bridge Replacement Project

On December 19, we issued a response to Chairman Oberstar’s request for us to review the process used in selecting the winning bid for the contract to rebuild the St. Anthony Falls/I–35W Bridge and determine whether that process complied with the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 112 and 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Our review found that: 1) although Flatiron/Manson’s bid had the highest price and longest time frame for completion, the contract award process used by Mn/DOT followed the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 112 and 23 CFR, Part 636, for design–build contracting; and; 2) the following factors influenced the selection of the winning bid: (a) deciding to use a best–value selection process instead of awarding the contract based on low bid, (b) placing greater emphasis on public relations and aesthetics than in previous design–bid projects, (c) establishing a new proposal evaluation factor called geometric enhancements, and (d) scoring certain elements of the winning bid as exceeding basic Request for Proposal requirements.