Home Construction Local contractors vie for $500M in bridge-related opportunities

Local contractors vie for $500M in bridge-related opportunities

Work proceeds in the Hudson River in preparation for the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

For LLF Construction Services Inc. and owner Leonardo Fabio, the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuilding project is more than just another contracting opportunity.

“If I get a good portion of the Tappan Zee, we would definitely be set for the next five years,” Fabio said.

He is not alone.

White Plains-based LLF Construction Services is one of hundreds of minority and women-owned businesses, disadvantaged business enterprises and small businesses that will be vying for $500 million in subcontracting opportunities when the bridge rebuilding contract is awarded later this year.

Nearly 1,000 people from at least 18 states attended an April 20 summit at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Tarrytown that was designed to introduce various business owners to the four finalist teams who are bidding on the contract to rebuild the bridge.

Under an agreement negotiated between those teams and state and federal transportation officials, the selected team will be responsible for allocating work representing roughly 10 percent of the contract’s value to small businesses, as well as those owned by the disadvantaged, women and minorities.

While state and federal officials won’t know the total cost of rebuilding the bridge until they receive the finalists’ proposals, which are due in July, the cost of construction has been estimated at $5.2 billion.

Each of the teams has also pledged, if it wins the contract, that approximately 30 percent of all workers tied to the project will be women and minorities.

That number represents a blend of state and federal requirements and Department of Labor statistics for the number of workers in construction-related fields currently in the region surrounding the bridge.

“The Thruway and DOT have been working tirelessly to ensure that a fair share of all contract work, with subcontracting opportunities, is achieved with willing, able, certified disadvantaged companies,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said in an email.

Dozens of subcontracting opportunities have been highlighted by the four finalist teams, including site surveying, environmental monitoring, the assembly and placement of reinforcing steel, painting of structural steel, drainage system installation, and concrete deck overlay, among others.

For companies like LLF Construction Services, the bridge rebuilding project represents an opportunity for contractors to increase their respective profiles in the region.

“It definitely would increase our exposure and also help us expand based on the amount of opportunities that are available from a revenue standpoint,” Fabio said.

With 15 full-time employees, LLF Construction Services did $4 million in work in 2011, and has subcontracted recently for both Yonkers Contracting Co. Inc. and Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc., who are part of two of the four finalist teams.

“So we do have the relationship working with these large-scale companies,” Fabio said.

“Again, the local experience – you get to keep the money in the community, you employ people from the community. We know where to get certain materials, supplies and manpower because we are in the region.”

The winning contracting team will be responsible for fulfilling the quotas set by state and federal transportation authorities.

Once the contract is awarded, which is expected to be in September, the Thruway Authority will have a compliance officer overseeing the involvement of small businesses, as well as those owned by women, minorities and the disadvantaged.

At the summit, which was hosted by the state Thruway Authority, the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, were Madison, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, and other state and federal transportation and economic development officials.

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