Mr. I. Jud Scott—known as “Cap’n Jud”—formed Scott Construction Company in 1933 with his oldest brother, Mr. W. Fred Scott and Mr. W. A. Britton in Thomasville, Georgia. Fred Scott already lived and worked in Thomasville running the W. F. Scott Company, which did small civil construction along with other business ventures in the area. The new Company grew quickly building bridges, highways, culverts, docks and dams in the Southeast, and even built a number of airport runways during WWII. In the early ‘40s, the brother’s cousin J. C. Scott joined Scott Construction Co. as a partner and general superintendent.
The Scott Construction Company continued to serve communities in Georgia and surrounding areas of the Southeast throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The company steadily earned a reputation for quality workmanship and honest negotiations, while delivering numerous high-profile projects:
Following the amicable division of Scott Construction Company in 1957, The Scott Company was incorporated in Opelika, Alabama, under the leadership of Mr. I. J. “Jud” Scott. Sr.and half of the original company’s employees. Opelika had been home to Capn’ Jud since 1923 when he went to work with the Brooks-Calloway Railroad Co. and married Frances Morgan of Opelika. The Scott Company continued in the same type of work, but focused on the Alabama, Florida Panhandle, and Mississippi areas. The Company continued to do the same work out of Thomasville under the 2nd generation leadership of Fred’s son Cochran until it sold out in 1977.
The Scott Company’s first major intercoastal bridge project was the Hathaway Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. This signature bridge was built for the Florida Department of Transportation and their Chipley 3rd Division Office. A picture of the new bridge and float-in of the navigational l-steel truss span became the center of the company’s logo on all equipment and remains so today.
Jud Scott, Sr. was known for his visionary gift and commitment to Biblical principles, including his responsibilities as a husband, father, grandfather, and employer. In 1965, Judd changed the name of the company to Scott Bridge Company and incorporated it with new stockholders —namely his son, I. Jud Scott, Jr., as Vice-President and G. Jerry Swarthout as Chief Engineer. The hiring of Jerry Swarthout was critical to SBC’s future success by focusing the Company on the more difficult bridges over water, especially those with deep water foundations and large steel superstructures.
SBC began the new deep water Kowaliga Bridge Project over Lake Martin in 1970 for the Alabama DOT. Building the bridge in 125-foot-deep water required SBC to design the deepest cofferdams ever built in the U.S. at that time. Scott Bridge Company was one of three bidders on the project. Jerry Swarthout’s son, Jack Swarthout III, began a career that lasted 50 years as SBC’s first Safety Officer, rising to Executive Vice President with stock ownership and a seat on the Board of Directors. Like his father, Jack’s hiring was also critical to bridging the generational gap and the successful growth of the company. The project was completed in 1974.
Bridgework opportunities were scarce due to the U.S. economic downturn. During this time, Scott Bridge Company pursued railroad bridges. In 1978, the company successfully bid and began construction on the replacement of a 6,000-foot L&N railroad bridge. This project was the largest railroad bridge that SBC had built to date and began a partnership with L&N (now CSX), Norfolk Southern, Florida East Coast RR, and numerous shortline railroads that continue today. This also ushered in the third generation of the I. Jud Scott family with the return of “Ike” J. Scott III to SBC as a Project Engineer.
Georgia DOT contracted with Scott Bridge Company in 1981 to perform the first widening of the I-75 double bridges over the Chattahoochee River. The widening was both inside and outside the existing two lane bridges, thereby adding four new lanes in each direction when they were completed in 1983. 64 new bridge substructure piers with hammerhead concrete caps, single columns, and footings in temporary cofferdams were built to support the widened superstructure’s concrete beams and decks.
Scott Bridge Company was the successful low bidder in 1983 for the first Georgia state DOT design-build bridge project ever bid in the United States. This ground-breaking design and construction project delivery method was for the one-mile-long Altamaha River Bridge. As a result of the bid method, which kept the project liabilities with those best able to control them, Georgia DOT received nine competitive bid packages with the lowest being Scott Bridge Company and their Design Consultant, Sergio Leguizziman.
In April of 1984 the Company’s Founder, Mr. I. Jud Scott, Sr., passed at the age of 85, but not before he accomplished his goals of “bridging the gap” and leaving the Company in good financial condition. Sadly and unexpectedly to follow, SBC President I. Jud Scott, Jr. died on Jan. 2, 1985. Losing two generations of the Scott Family’s leadership so close together was difficult, but thanks to Capn’ Jud’s vision and concern for the future of all Scott Bridge families, Gerard “Jerry” Swarthout, Jr. stepped into the President’s role and Ike J. Scott, III and Gerard “Jack” Swarthout, III assumed Vice-President positions to continue the 50+ year bridge building tradition.
Scott Bridge Company won the bid in the Georgia DOT monthly letting to construct two 1,200-foot bridges over Lake Lanier near Gainesville, GA. The project involved constructing the second-deepest temporary cofferdams ever built in the U.S. Following the forming and pouring of the concrete seals and columns within the cofferdams and finishing the caps, structural steel girders were erected by SBC and the concrete decks were then poured. This project began with the company’s purchase of its first two 150-ton cranes and its first single screw 26-foot tugboat named the Miss Haley.
With a growing reputation among regional and national rail companies, Scott Bridge Company was contracted by Norfolk Southern to rehabilitate the substructure and replace a superstructure of 2200-foot railroad bridge crossing the Tennessee River. The project was awarded in three phases with the first phase being competitively bid and the last two being negotiated with SBC. This work included the replacement of twelve 150-foot steel deck truss spans with twelve 150-foot steel plate girder spans, and the float-in of a new 350-foot steel thru truss to replace a 200-foot thru truss, as well as one new concrete bridge pier to support the river end of the navigational span truss.
In preparation of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA, the Olympic Committee contacted Scott Bridge Company to bid on their previously designed Rowing Venue Grandstands. SBC offered to do a redesign at no cost in return for a negotiated contract to build the Venue. The Olympic Committee was so happy with the less expensive, more environmentally friendly design that they awarded the 17,000 seat Rowing Venue contract to SBC, as well as a contract to design and build a temporary 5 acre yachting venue out in the Wausau Sound near Savannah, GA.
From 1969 to present, Scott Bridge Company has constructed eight major highway bridges and two railroad bridges over the Tennessee River, including the new Patton Island Bridge from 1999 to 2001. All of the highway bridges had three long span continuous steel plate girder units over the navigational channel, as well as large cofferdams with seal and pier concrete foundations. Most of these Alabama DOT bridge contracts required the removal of the existing bridges, including the shoot down of old steel trusses and blasting plus haul-off of the existing bridge piers.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast. A few days ahead, Scott Bridge Company was put on standby by Norfolk Southern RR and by CSX Transportation to expect some damage to their bridges. Even though SBC already had an established reputation for rapid Emergency Response Services, the widespread destruction that resulted from Hurricane Katrina was a shock. As a result, Scott Bridge Co. mobilized our entire work force and equipment to perform the emergency rebuild of ten miles of railroad bridges.
Scott Bridge Company and United Contractors teamed up in a 70/30 Joint Venture with a successful low bid for the total rebuild of Georgia DOT’s I-20 / Bobby Jones Expressway Interchange. At the time, this $192 million project was the largest single Bid-Build project ever contracted by GDOT. As designed, the project included long, multi-span post-tensioned concrete box fly over bridges and a traffic control plan that involved multiple traffic shifts to accommodate the rebuilding of the interchange under traffic. Scott Bridge Company. Engineering offered a value engineering redesign of the flyover bridges superstructures using structural steel. This VE saved the Georgia taxpayers $2 million and contributed later to a 270-day acceleration of the completion date of the contract.
With help from U.S. Coast Guard funding, CSX Railroad contracted with Scott Bridge Company to widen the navigational opening of their main line railroad bridge over the Mobile River and maintain daily railroad and river traffic. This railroad bridge is the largest movable span bridge built and operated by CSX in their 11,000 bridge system. The challenging project involved building two new pier foundations, erecting the structural steel towers and mechanical vertical lift systems, and over a 72-hour closure to all traffic, floating out the 90-year-old 250-foot turn span and floating in the new 375-foot steel truss. The new span had been erected on falsework in the river eight miles upstream by Scott Bridge Company crews and then floated downriver to the project site.
Beginning in 2012, Scott Bridge Company executed and performed multiple contracts for the ongoing rehabilitation of two 100-year-old Strauss Heel Trunnion railroad bridges. Several of these contracts were done on an emergency basis when the bascule was stuck in the down position, blocking the navigational channel for commercial barge shipments as well as larger pleasure vessels. The work performed on the FECR bridge included replacing all components of the span drive system including the operating strut rack gears, gear carriages, and second link pins.
Scott Bridge Company has been a trusted partner of Alabama & Georgia Power on numerous civil construction projects. Among the noteworthy projects, the Mitchell Dam on the Coosa River saw the construction of a new East river bank retaining wall with a reinforced concrete foundation beneath three major spillway gates, featuring high-impact splash blocks. On the Chattahoochee River, significant trash rack replacement projects were accomplished at Morgan Falls Dam, Bartletts Ferry Dam, and others. Presently, an ongoing major project at Goat Rock Dam involves replacing all flashboards with Obermeyer gates, requiring the installation of a sheet pile wall on the upstream side of the dam for safe gate installation. Stephen Summers, VP of Power Services & Design Build, and Chuck E. Davis, VP of Engineering and Rail Services, ensure the projects are managed timely and effectively, navigating the complex engineering challenges with expertise.
SBC was contracted with Brightline Railroad on two railroad projects to replace, double track, design and rehabilitate the 850-foot FECR bascule bridge at Jupiter, FL and to design and replace all mechanical and operating systems of the FECR bascule at Stuart, FL. Although these two 100-year-old bascules were only 75 feet long, the level of difficulty, from an engineering and construction standpoint, equaled that of the 375-foot CSX vertical lift span SBC completed in 2011.
Today, the company is led by Ike Scott III, and his brothers Bill and David, with additional fourth generation family members serving in various important roles.
They along with the dedicated men and women who make up the Scott Bridge Family, continue to uphold the principles and traditions on which the company was founded.