Skip to contentUnited States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway AdministrationSearch FHWAFeedback

Construction

Special Experimental Project No. 14 - FHWA/HUD Livability Initiative

Approved Work Plan - Johnstown, PA

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Work Plan Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP-14)
HUD/FHWA Jointly Funded Project
Revised 1/30/13 per Approval Comments (ECMS 92442)

A. Introduction

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation submits this work plan for review and approval as a multi-agency funded project under the provisions of Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP 14) for the use of innovative contracting practices. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has traditionally provided Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) funding to local municipalities to be used as a sole source of funding. This work plan proposes to utilize funding awarded to the City of Johnstown for their PA Route 56 & Main Street Reconnection Project from both FHWA and their U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocation(s). To accomplish this involves meeting HUD funding requirements in our bidding procedures.

This PCTI project is located at the intersection of PA Route 56 and Johns Street, City of Johnstown, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. In its current alignment the said intersection has poor site angles that require sharp turning movements, mistimed lighting signals on a highly traveled intersection (approximately 18,000 trips per day), and non-existing safe travel routes by able-bodied or handicapped pedestrians between Johnstown's Central Business District, Point Stadium, and People Natural Gas Park to the Johnstown Inclined Plane or U.S. Army Corps boat launch ramp. The PA Route 56 & Main Street Reconnection Project will correct these conditions and create a safe environment providing an increasingly effective intersection for pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

B. Purpose

Typically and ideally, local municipalities pay for PCTI projects through a single source of funding. For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would provide PCTI funding for a streetscape project, and the municipality would be able to complete the project with this funding alone.

With the recent economic downturn, more local governments are turning towards dwindling transportation resources. As a result, local municipalities must be increasingly innovative in the creation of funding packages for infrastructure projects.

The purpose of this request is to permit a local municipality, the City of Johnstown, Cambria County, Pennsylvania to utilize two (2) sources of federal funding in the same transportation project – Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) funding from FWHA and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This request is in accordance the instructions in the Federal Register/Vol.75, No. 122/Friday, June 25, 2010/Notices 36471.

Approval of this procedure would avoid splitting the project into two separate advertisements. HUD's Section 3 requires that preferential hiring be afforded to those individuals living in the project area. That preferential hiring is in direct conflict with FHWA requirements. Approval of this SEP-14 request will allow more of the available funding to be utilized for revitalization of the area while complying with training, employment, and contracting requirements of HUD's Section 3, to the greatest extent feasible. A cost savings is recognized by avoiding duplication of payment for Maintenance and Protection of Traffic, Mobilization, and Inspection, as well as avoiding any potential economic impacts to the area because of the construction duration of one project versus two. Specifically, two projects would require two different inspection contracts and would impact the traveling public for two separate contract durations.

C. Scope

The scope of work for this project will include the construction of a duel transportation and streetscape enhancement project at the intersection of PA Route 56 and Johns Street in the City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. This intersection acts as the gateway and connection to the Central Business District and Main Street and is the most heavily traveled roadway within the City of Johnstown.

The project includes the replacement of existing sidewalks, construction/establishment of new sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks, construction of curb ramps to current ADA standards, re-alignment of current turning lanes, establishment and construction of a green boulevard along PA Route 56, rain gardens, street trees, and entrance/welcome/way-finding signage. Most importantly, the project will establish and create a sustainable and safe pedestrian environment as well as create increasingly effective vehicular traffic lanes. As the project site currently stands the pedestrian crosswalks are non-existent, the conditions of the sidewalks are poor, and pedestrian travel is dangerous.

Through the provision of pedestrian infrastructure improvements, the City of Johnstown intends to establish and create safe and inviting transportation alternatives. The City of Johnstown is a dense, urban environment, and opportunities abound for people to move throughout the community in a more sustainable manner. It is the goal of the City of Johnstown to maintain vibrant and viable connections between the multiple recreational, cultural, and tourism destinations, commercial businesses and retail establishments within and adjacent to the Central Business District and Main Street.

The goal and vision of the project is to increase the quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses of the immediate project area and the City of Johnstown as a whole, enhance transportation options that reduce consumption of fossil fuels, and provide safe transportation routes for economically disadvantaged populations. This project, as identified within the City's 2009 Master Plan, fulfills one of the primary and implementable projects and assists in gaining additional strength for additional planning and implementation efforts to improve the recreational, cultural, economic, and tourism opportunities within the City of Johnstown and surrounding region.

  1. Competition
    1. This project was originally bid in September 2012 with 3 bids received. The anticipated rebid of this project will be in January, 2013. The Department received a higher average number of bidders in January 2011 and 2012 (7.5/7.1) than in September 2011 and 2012 (6.8/6.2). Therefore it is anticipate this rebid will generate competitive bidding of at least 3 bidders.
    2. The approval of this SEP-14 procedure would avoid splitting the project into two separate advertisements, more of the available funding to be utilized for revitalization of the project area, and a single larger contract gives the contractor more options to fulfill the minority subcontracting requirements. A total cost savings is recognized by avoiding duplication of payment for Maintenance and Protection of Traffic, Mobilization, and Inspection as well as avoiding any potential economic impacts to the area from of the project construction duration spanning from one (1) project season versus two (2). The combining of these two projects may make this project more attractive to bidders.
  2. Livability
    1. The project enhances the mobility, connections and convenience for travelers and pedestrians by providing for the replacement of existing sidewalks, construction/establishment of new sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks, construction of handicapped curb ramps to current ADA standards, re-alignment of existing turning lanes, establishment and construction of a green boulevard gateway to the City along PA Route 56, rain gardens, street trees, and placement of entrance/welcome/way-finding signage. As the project site currently stands, the pedestrian crosswalks are non-existent, the conditions of the sidewalks are poor, pedestrian travel is dangerous from the primary orientation towards automobile traffic at the expense of pedestrians or cyclists, and the closest safe crossing for non-vehicle traffic is two (2) blocks away via an over-the-road pedestrian bridge. Through the provision of pedestrian infrastructure improvements, the City of Johnstown intends to establish and create safe and inviting transportation alternatives. The City of Johnstown is a dense, urban environment, and opportunities abound for people to move throughout the community in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. It is the goal of the City of Johnstown to maintain vibrant and viable connections between the multiple recreational, cultural, and tourism destinations. Once completed this project will assist in facilitating the connections of a system of bicycle and walking trails that connect in the Central Business District, the areas public bus lines, the Inclined Plane, and the direct connection to the U.S. Army Corps boat launch ramp for regional water and recreation activities.
    2. Once completed the project will create a safer and viable connection between the multiple recreational, cultural, and tourism destinations and the commercial business and retail establishments within adjacent Central Business District and Main Street. In its current alignment the said intersection requires poor site angles, sharp turning movements, and mistimed lighting signals on a highly traveled intersection, approximately 18,000 trips per day, and non-existing safe travel routes by able-bodied or handicapped pedestrians between Johnstown's Central Business District, Point Stadium, and People Natural Gas Park to the Johnstown Inclined Plane or U.S. Army Corps boat launch ramp. The project will provide for an increasingly effective traffic flow for all vehicle types, currently larger commercial trucks must occupy both turning lanes on Johns Street to maneuver the right-hand turn onto Route 56. During large regional events held in the Central Business District or events held at the Point Stadium or Peoples Natural Gas Park this intersection often becomes problematic and congested from it being the closest accessible eastbound connection to Route 56.
    3. As stated, currently at the project site pedestrian crosswalk are non-existent, the condition of the sidewalks are poor, and pedestrian travel to regional recreation and tourist sites is dangerous and inaccessible as travel is oriented towards vehicular traffic. By the City of Johnstown being able to complete this project, all populations including the disadvantaged, non-drivers, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities will have increased access and mobility by providing said provisions and accommodations to amenities. The location is currently provided services to by the area's public transportation busing system through the terms of a bus stop, though once at the project location mobility within the commercial, recreational, cultural, and tourism destinations becomes difficult or impossible due to the current infrastructure and lack of accessible ADA compliant travel routes. The traffic calming components of the project along PA Route 56 are intended to reduce travels speeds from the 65 to 75 mph that have been 'clocked' to the preferred 35 to 40 mph which is conducive to shared pedestrian and bike use.
    4. The original thought and creation of this project was derived from the City of Johnstown's 2009 Master Plan whereas it was identified as one of the core projects. The development and finalization of the Master Plan was driven by a number of invited stakeholders, numerous public hearings and visioning sessions, and incorporation of various regional strategies and initiatives. The Master Plan is much more than a façade and streetscape plan in that it incorporated a multi-disciplinary approach of real-estate development, government planning and funding, urban planning, transportation, landscape architecture, civil engineering, and marketing for a full community vision. The project, as presented, has been revised and refined through multiple stakeholder meetings, City of Johnstown departmental review, and a series of Public Hearings to draw public comment, insight, and review.
  3. Sustainability
    1. Due to the nature of this project in that it is a true combination of transportation, livability, and streetscape improvements it would be difficult to provide any quantitative data or information about the reduction of emissions or fuel consumption as a result of the project. The installation of smart traffic signal technologies will provide adaptive timing of signals to improve traffic flow efficiencies, etc. Intuitive engineering would suggest improved fuel efficiencies will also be realized as part of the project due to reduced idle timing and fewer signals. With the coordination and new alignment of the traffic lights (including the removal of outdated signals, automobile traffic will be allowed to more effectively, efficiently, and safely flow through the improved intersection. The project too will provide, without any quantitative numbers, for increased access and use of pedestrian and bicycle use not only for recreational purposes but also as people come into the project area for the events held within, which eliminates and cuts the usage of fossil fuels and the emissions associated with. The project will greatly improve event traffic flows around the Point Stadium and Festival Park complex and will thereby have fuel efficiency improvements related to event driven traffic.
    2. There are several components to the project which act in protecting, maintaining, and enhancing the environment. The replacement of the sidewalks in the project area are going to be enhanced by the installation of curbside bio-retention rain garden infiltration areas and two (2) additional green spaces, also to function as rain gardens, created by the traffic lane shifts. The rain gardens will help in the removal of toxins, petroleum wastes, de-icing salts, and litter from entering into the stormwater system and is being developed and signed as an educational center/tool for local school districts. The project will also feature a green boulevard along a section of the center of Route 56, the first in the City of Johnstown, which serves several purposes in treating first flush stormwater, providing buffer safety zone/island for pedestrian, bicycle, or water access traffic, and slowing traffic through the use of vertical plants.

D. Schedule

The PS&E has been delivered to the District 9-0 Contract Management Unit. Upon approval of the SEP-14, Contract Management will include the necessary HUD requirement in the contract documents and advertise the project as ECMS 92442. The anticipated dates are as follows:

Advertisement: December 27, 2012
Bid Opening: January 31, 2013
NTP (contractor): March 18, 2013
Project Completion: October 2013

E. Measures

This project was recently bid with just PCTI funds and all bids were rejected as the available PCTI funds were insufficient. The previous bids received for the project will be compared to the bids received with the HUD requirements. The previous low bid total was $1,358,419.23. The scope will be reduced by eliminating the tree removal item to accommodate available PCTI and HUD funding. The amount of HUD funding to be included in this project is $144,000 which is 12% of the overall construction estimate of $1,233,449.40.

  1. The Department will evaluate the effects of HUD's economic opportunity requirements on competitive bidding by comparing the number of bidders for each let.
  2. The Department will compare the bid amounts of each let.
  3. To the extent that bid information is available, PennDOT will evaluate the differences in bid prices or total bids with similar projects that do not have the local hiring preferences and explain any potential differences.
  4. The Department will analyze the anticipated cost savings by avoiding the duplication of payment for Inspection as well as avoiding any potential economic impacts to the area because of the construction duration of one project versus two.
  5. The Department will monitor the employment, training and contracting preference where feasible in accordance with HUD's Section 3 requirements.
  6. The Department will provide an opinion from both the prime contractor and the contracting agency's representative on whether the hiring preference requirement resulted in any additional costs or delays at the end of the project.

F. Reporting

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and City of Johnstown will prepare and submit initial and final reports on this project since this is a relatively small project. The initial report will be prepared at the approximate time of award of the contract. The initial report will include industry reaction to the mix of funding sources, any identifiable effects on the bid prices received, and a copy of the bid tabs.

A final report will be submitted upon completion of the contract and final Pennsylvania Department of Transportation acceptance. The final report will contain an overall evaluation of the project including the economic benefits of one project versus two, an evaluation of the impacts of HUD's Section 3 requirements, an opinion of both the prime contractor and the contracting agency's representative believed that the hiring preference requirement resulted in any additional costs or delays, and any suggestions and recommendations for improving the process.

Contact

John Huyer
Office of Program Administration
651-291-6111
E-mail John

 
Updated: 07/31/2013

FHWA
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration