Florida's Sunshine Skyway Bridge--Design and Construction Concerns

RCED-85-32: Published: Dec 14, 1984. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the construction of Florida's Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Specifically, GAO reported on the design process, federal and state efforts to ensure that the bridge is being built to specifications, and a group of technical concerns about the bridge.

GAO found that Florida followed its consultant engineer contracting procedures, although it did not audit the accounting systems of 10 of the bridge designer's 11 subconsultants prior to awarding the contract. Post-award audits by the state of two of the largest subconsultant contracts found that their accounting systems did not adequately identify and segregate costs. This prompted the state to question over $11,000 in design costs. Florida also found in its post-award audit that a subconsultant realized a 122-percent profit from the contract when the state had projected that it would realize only a 12 percent profit. GAO found that federal and state agencies have made significant efforts to ensure that the bridge is being built to specifications. Regarding technical concerns, GAO found that: (1) the concrete was a quality concrete which would be subject to the normal deterioration process; (2) the weak soil composition of the area was adequately strengthened by the addition of extra foundation piles; and (3) the trestle design was approved as meeting ship impact and other specifications.

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