In 2003, the Oregon Department of Transportation was preparing to take on the biggest infrastructure project in Oregon’s history. Oregonians had not seen an investment of this magnitude in highway and bridge construction since the state’s interstate freeway system was built. The Oregon Legislature passed the third Oregon Transportation Investment Act, funding the OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program
to replace or repair hundreds of aging highway bridges throughout the state. Of the 365 bridges in the program, 263 have been completed and are open to traffic and seven are currently under construction. Ninety-four bridges did not require additional repair or replacement.
Grouping the work by highway corridors across the state helped keep traffic moving during construction. Bundling the projects also allowed contractors of all sizes, including small businesses — woman-owned, minority-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises — to bid on bridge program work. Since work started in 2003, 86 percent of the program’s contracts have been awarded to Oregon-based firms. Oregon businesses and individuals have earned more than $1 billion after taxes from work on the bridge program.