The post-selection controversy surrounding the I-395 “signature bridge” project is showing no signs of cooling off.
Subsequent to receiving the winning bid,
The Archer-Western team has tried to put the matter to bed and is insisting that a transparent and fair selection process has concluded, stating that,
“We are confident that any protest review of the selection process will conclude that FDOT conducted a fair and open RFP process with an unprecedented amount of local input.”
It also bears restating that this selection process was subject to a settlement agreement whereby the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) promised the local Miami community that it would get to decide the aesthetic design of the bridge as decided by an Aesthetic Review Committee made up of local citizens.
But did this “unprecedented amount of local input” really have any bearing on the final decision at all?
Interestingly, the Archer-Western/De Moya design actually obtained considerably lower marks from the community-led aesthetics committee than several of its competitors including Fluor Astaldi and MCM, which received a perfect score from community representatives.
What appears to have put the Archer-Western/De Moya group over the top was a last minute change in how FDOT chose to weigh the overwhelming decision of the Aesthetics Review Committee vs. the opinion of engineers and bureaucrats.
This is especially questionable because of the following concern- back on April 20th, Archer Western was terminated by the State of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for (among other things) its two-year delay in the completion of a hospital with that still has no target completion date in sight.
Did Archer Western/De Moya literally concoct a promise within its bid that it has no way of realistically keeping to save its chances and prevail in the selection process?
The murmuring we hear from the locals is continuing to grow. Stay tuned.