J.P. Donoghue, project manager for Orion Marine Group of Tampa, is directing fixed bridge replacement on the Boca Grande Causeway and may have the job for the Swing Bridge, too, once bids are awarded for that job.
Donoghue walked into the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority meeting Friday with what he thought was good news: South Bridge construction is three months ahead of schedule.
The GIBA Board had timed the construction schedule to miss the meat of the 2013 season. A three-month schedule shift would place traffic restrictions for the final bridge tie-ins in February instead May, which the GIBA Board fared would generate lots of islander complaints. Here's how Donoghue, who controls scheduling, spending, logistics and personnel for Orion Marine on the Gasparilla Island project, plans to handle the scheduling concerns and other bridge-building challenges.
J.P. Donoghue, project manager for Orion Marine Group of Tampa
QUESTION: What will the next two months hold for GIBA bridge-building activity?
ANSWER: The next couple of months you're going to see a lot of activity. We're going to complete the sub-structure, the caps, that hold up the superstructure on both bridges. We're going to complete the superstructure on the South Bridge. We're going to continue constructing roadways.
Q: When will traffic come onto the new South Bridge?
J.P. Donoghue at a glance
Birthdate: May 22, 1983
Occupation: Orion Marine Group project manager for Boca Grande bridges
Family: Married four years to wife, Catherine, with a boy and a girl
Education: University of Florida
You should know: An Eagle Scout who learned to dive at age 12
Discovered Boca Grande: Family stay-cations and tarpon fishing trips
A: In January of next year we plan to put traffic on the new South Bridge.
Q: What challenges come of moving your South Bridge construction end date up a quarter?
A: Part of our plan to move the end date closer involves shifting resource. The South Bridge had a goal to finish by March. There's a lot of work that still has to be done once we put traffic on the South Bridge.
Q: When finishing the two fixed bridges, will there be a temporary one-lane time period for motorists?
A: A temporary one-lane time period will happen. We have to finish a lot of scour protection work and finish a lot of roadway work so it will be several months after January (likely September 2013) before we're 100 percent gone from the South Bridge.
Q: How long will the South Bridge traffic be restricted to one lane?
A: We hope to keep it to 30 to 40 days. We've had a few weather days so we'll do our best with that.
Q: The GIBA Board is reluctant to restrict South Lane traffic to one lane during February, which is one of the busiest months of the season. Is there a way to avoid that?
A: We were trying to get in there and get done with it as soon as possible. We realize that's a busy time but it's definitely something we can discuss at the (weekly) project meeting. We're open to anything.
Q: Why move ahead of schedule?
A: It's going to reduce the risk in terms of duration of having that (old) Center Bridge in place. The less time it's there the better. There's less chance of having an issue with the Center Bridge.
Q: With temp bridge on hand at a cost of roughly $1 million from the state, why do we ever have to go to one lane?
A: Unfortunately the design is such that on the south side of the South Bridge, both lanes cannot be constructed with the temporary detour in place. The bridge is built all at one time in one phase. The bridge will be complete. The north side of the South Bridge will nearly be complete as we approach the roadway but that temporary roadway cuts over and you can't close the gap. The south side is the worst. When you go over the temporary bridge toward the south it's a pretty sharp turn. The right-of-way is very narrow. It's a big elevation issue as well. So you have to go farther down the road to tie it in. That's something we looked very hard at as a contractor and did not find a way around.
Q: This is no surprise, was it?
A: I don't know of any designer or contractor that could find a way around that. (Former GIBA Engineering Committee Chairman Thor Johnson confirmed this).
Q: Does the early schedule save GIBA money?
A: It saves GIBA three months in consultancy fees.
Q: Is the Center Bridge also ahead of schedule?
A: It will take half of next year to get that built and there's lots of roadwork to do so that will bring us into the third quarter of 2013 before we get traffic on the new (Center) Bridge. We'll then remove the existing Center Bridge and install a lot of rocks for scour protection on the west side of the Center Bridge. Our new goal is to finish by Labor Day of 2013.