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Lessons Learned

 

Collaborative Leadership: Success Stories in Transportation Mega Projects
A "Lessons Learned" Approach to Collaborative Leadership in Mega Project Management

Successful Collaborative Leadership Example:
The Hyperfix Project

Description/Purpose

Aerial of North split of I-65/70 of Hyperfix Project (Public Roads, 2004)
Aerial of North split of I-65/70 of Hyperfix Project (Public Roads, 2004)

The Hyperfix Project was a highway rehabilitation plan involving Interstates 65 and 70 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The plan was constructed by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and officially announced to the general public on May 26, 2003.

As with most cities across the country, the highly traveled Interstates eventually began to show signs of aging that become obvious to motorists. The signs of aging Interstates include things such as potholes, deteriorating joints, and rough pavements.

Traffic counts conducted by the INDOT engineers revealed that more than 175,000 vehicles traveled on Interstates 65 and 70, which is clearly more than the original design of 61,000 daily. (Mroczka, Straumins & Pinkerlman, 2004) Considering the amount of effort and detail needed for a project of that magnitude, INDOT and FHWA proceeded with a collaborative partnership that also included IndyGo (the local transit agency), Indianapolis Department of Public Works, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization to accomplish the completion of the Hyperfix Project.

Considering the amount of vehicles that traveled the Interstates on a daily basis, any amount of construction would cause major delays that would ultimately frustrate the citizens that utilized those highways. Anticipating the effects of the Hyperfix Project, the Indianapolis Star, a local newspaper, printed an article in March 2003 that warned commuters to brace for the "worst construction season ever." (Mroczka, Straumins & Pinkerlman, 2004)

The FHWA and INDOT assembled a project time line with the phases shown in Table 4. Planning is a very important segment of any project and the collaborative team assembled for Hyperfix started over a year early. Due to the extensive planning in every phase of the project, which helped the project be completed earlier than estimated and with relatively few problems, Michael H. Wenning, an engineer for Hyperfix project won the Indiana Civil Engineer of the Year Award since Hyperfix was voted Outstanding Project of the Year by the American Society of Engineers. (American Society of Engineers, 2004)

To date, Hyperfix 65/70 has won the Federal Highway Administrator's "Team: Strive For Excellence" award, was featured as the 2003 "Project Showcase" at the annual meeting for the Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and has been featured in several major trade magazines, including Public Roads and Construction Today. (American Society of Engineers, 2004)

Hyperfix has turned into a household term for many residents in the Indianapolis area, which conveys the meaning of an efficient fix or repair.

Table 4 - Hyperfix Project Time Line
Phase Description
Planning This phase completely evaluated every solution to find the best one that achieved maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
Design The development of working plans that include scope of project.
Letting The preparation for all necessary paperwork and awarding contracts to the lowest qualified bidder. January 22, 2003 was the initial let on date.
Pre-Closure The preparation of all necessary work to get ready for the closures of Interstates 65 and 70.
Closure The complete closure of the roadways that connect the Interstates between the north and south splits. Expected dates are May 26 through August 2003.
Post-Closure The work involving pavement patching, shoulder reconstruction and ramp resurfacing of northbound and southbound I-65 as well as eastbound and westbound I-70 in the south split interchange area. Expected completion date: September 3, 2003.

(Hyperfix 65/70 Official Web Site, 2004)

Stakeholders

  • INDOT
  • INDOT Commissioner: J. Bryan Nicol
  • INDOT Engineer(s):
    • Michael H. Wenning
    • Tim Conarroe
  • INDOT's freeway service patrol operators, know as Hoosier Helpers
  • FHWA
  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • IndyGo
  • IndyGo's Chief Executive Officer: Gilbert Holmes
  • Governor of Indiana
  • Mayor of Indianapolis: Bart Peterson
  • Indianapolis Department of Public Works
  • Indiana State Police
  • Walsh Construction Company
  • Citizens of Indiana
  • Motorists of I-65 & I-70
  • The trucking industry
  • Public transit

Requirements

The resource requirements for the Hyperfix Project were very extensive, as one would expect for a state highway projects of this size. Resources are considered time, people, cost, equipment, etc.

  • Time: The Hyperfix project was a planned 85-day complete shutdown of Interstates I-65 & I-70 between May 27 and August 20, 2003.
  • Cost: The Walsh Construction Company was expected to complete the repairs of the Interstates for approximately $33 million. An early completion incentive was offered totaling $3.6 million or $100,000 everyday the contractor opened travel lanes prior to the 85-day contract limit. (Mroczka, Straumins & Pinkerlman, 2004)

SWOT Analysis

Strengths
  • Project had multiple agencies involved in the collaborative process.
  • Planned more than one year, received input from all stakeholders.
  • Retained a public relations firm on how best to engage the public. (V. Straumins, personal communication, December 6, 2004)
  • Good proactive communication to public early and often. Hyperfix 65/70 website primary source for recommended alternative routes.
  • Project finished on July 20, 2003. Took only 55 days, which was earlier than the estimated 85 days.
  • Saved taxpayers more than $1 million (in lost wages, lost productivity, etc.) for each day that traditional construction would add to the project. (Mroczka, Straumins & Pinkerlman, 2004)
  • Hyperfix improved safety, provided safer bridges and highways while extending merge lanes to limit traffic congestion.
  • Major traffic problems never materialized on the local streets or the Interstate. (V. Straumins, personal communication, December 6, 2004)
  • Provided a safe work environment for construction workers since the Interstates will be completely closed for motorists.
  • The project extended the repaired areas 10 to 15 years of travel life for motorists and provides safe roadways for residents/visitors. (Hyperfix 65/70 Facts-at-a-Glance, 2004)
  • The Mayor's Action Center (MAC) offered extended hours to help motorists during the first week of Hyperfix, the State of Indiana's repair project on I-65 and I-70 in downtown Indianapolis. (Office of the Mayor, 2003)
Weaknesses
  • Interstates 65 & 70 will be completely closed to motorists.
  • Other roads had increased traffic since the Interstates.
  • It took some time to establish the Park and Ride pick up locations since the sites had to provide free and safe commuter parking at a convenient location. (V. Straumins, personal communication, December 6, 2004)
Opportunities
  • Completing the project early.
  • Extending the Interstates travel life.
  • Complete closure will ultimately save taxpayers money.
Threats
  • Lack of involvement from stakeholders.
  • Angry motorists/citizens whose life was negatively affected by the Interstate's closure.
  • IndyGo transit system might not be able to support the increased passengers.
  • Increased overtime pay, which could mean going over the $100,000 budget allotted for police overtime.
  • Increased traffic congestion.
  • Interruption of business activities for businesses located downtown.
  • Increased noise from construction would affect downtown residents, businesses and employees.

Budget/Funding

  • $33 million was allocated for the Hyperfix.
  • $1 million in funds from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program was allocated by FHWA to support the Hyperfix Park & Ride project.
  • $100,000 for police overtime to direct traffic was allocated by the State of Indiana.
  • Local traffic control improvements were eligible for Federal funds. However, the programming of federal funds could not be expedited to meet letting schedule. INDOT elected to go with 100% State funds. (V. Straumins, personal communication, December 6, 2004)

Marketing

The hiring of the public relations firm significantly added to the positive marketing of Hyperfix. In a joint effort with FHWA and IndyGo, INDOT launched a web site specifically for stakeholders and the general public to find information about the Hyperfix. A Hyperfix Interstate 65 & 70 information line was started for interested parties to find information such as the current status of the project. In addition to the web site and information line, advertisements were also placed in local newspapers and magazines, on highway billboards, and posters were displayed on designated spots within the IndyGo Park & Ride system. The Indianapolis Department of Public Works also posted 600 new signs downtown, on heavily traveled corridors, and up to 8 miles away from the construction to inform motorists about the detours. (Mroczka, Straumins & Pinkerlman, 2004)

Key Reasons for Success

The Hyperfix project had a few keys to success, which were early planning, collaborative effort, and the support of stakeholders to completely close the Interstates. When the project was being planned, INDOT discovered that rehabilitating infrastructure using traditional methods that utilize partial closures would take at least 180 workdays, which would possibly take two construction seasons and cost $1 million per day in lost productive time for motorists. (Hyperfix 65/70 Facts-at-a-Glance, 2004) If the project didn't have input from all involved in the collaborative process, the project might have taken a more traditional route.

As part of the collaborative planning process, INDOT and FHWA implemented detours for motorists that usually travel I-65 & I-70. With collaborative input from the State's Traffic Management Center, Indiana State Police, and INDOT's service patrol operators, the Hyperfix planners directed all national and regional traffic onto the construction-free outer beltway (Interstate 465) and also put up distinctive signage at distances up to 10 miles away, instructing motorists of alternative routes around the construction. (Mroczka, Straumins & Pinkerlman, 2004)

Another key to success with the collaborative planning was the coordination of public transit. IndyGo established its first park-and-ride campaign while FHWA approved the use of $1 million in funds from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program to support the park-and-ride project.

Conclusion

Hyperfix was completed 30 days ahead of schedule due to the extensive planning, collaboration, and cooperation of stakeholders such as INDOT, the Mayor's Office, IndyGo, and FHWA. The decision to close the entire I-65/70 corridor was the biggest decision of the project. Due to that innovative decision of the planning committee, the project was completed quickly.

Since the project was successful by accomplishing the objectives at a lower cost than originally budgeted, it should serve as a model for future projects. However, future project managers reviewing the details of Hyperfix should take note to get more contractors to give a cost and time estimate. This is stated because some may believe the contractor overstated the time estimation in order to receive the bonus by completing early. If multiple contractors are required to submit time estimates, this will reduce the chances of one contractor inflating the time estimates since there will be other parties making proposals.