January 24, 2014
Innovation of the Month: Design-Build
One of the many tools in the contracting toolbox, design-build has been used by the U.S. transportation community for about a quarter of a century. This project delivery method combines the design and construction phases of a project in one contract, speeding up project completion and offering potential cost savings.
Keys to success on design-build projects include the following:
- Choose projects carefully. Design-build is often used for complex projects or when fast-track implementation is a priority.
- Develop clear design and construction criteria. Use performance criteria and specifications, if possible.
- Use a two-phase selection process, if possible, that includes a request for qualifications to create a shortlist of qualified proposers followed by a request for proposals. In some states, low-bid contracts are required even when design-build is used.
- Allocate risks to the most appropriate party.
- Consider the cost-effectiveness of operational requirements or warranties.
- Plan and program for private partnerships.
The California Department of Transportation opened its first design-build project—the State Route 99 Madera rehabilitation project—on budget and on time in October 2013. The agency chose design-build to expedite construction on the 4-mile-long project. Nine additional design-build projects are being built throughout the state.
Efficiency a 2014 Priority, Foxx Says
One of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2014 priorities is finding additional efficiencies to save money and time on projects, Secretary Anthony Foxx said in January 15 remarks at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. “We’re going to do even more to find efficiencies—implementing performance measures that reward projects completed under budget and ahead of schedule and remaking our permitting process so that, in the vast majority of cases, it takes days or weeks instead of months and years.”
Foxx cited examples of how Every Day Counts innovations—design-build contracting and warm-mix asphalt—are contributing to the efficiency effort. “In Utah, when the 1-15 needed extending, they used several innovations that DOT had pioneered as part of our Every Day Counts program, including having project-designers—the architects of the road, so to speak—and the builders work onsite together, which hadn’t traditionally done before,” he said. “And because they did, they finished the project a full two years ahead of schedule and saved taxpayers $260 million.” Using warm-mix asphalt on paving projects, he added, is expected to generate savings of $3.6 billion by 2020.
Incident Management Training Held in Mexico
The FHWA-sponsored Border Technology Exchange Program collaborated with the Texas Department of Transportation, Autonomous University and a local planning agency to conduct traffic incident management responder training in Chihuahua, Mexico, on January 17. More than 160 fire, law enforcement, emergency management and transportation officials attended the workshop on improving safety while more effectively clearing crash scenes. It was the seventh training session held on the U.S.-Mexican border.
California Project to Use EDC Innovations
FHWA’s Central Federal Lands Highway Division signed an agreement with the Tahoe Transportation District and six other agencies to deliver the Fanny Bridge community revitalization project in Tahoe City, Calif. The project will use the construction manager/general contractor delivery method, geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge system technology and roundabouts. The agreement allocates $25.5 million in Federal Lands Access Program funds for construction in 2016.Â
Programmatic Agreement to Expedite Maine Projects
The FHWA Maine Division, Maine Department of Transportation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed an updated programmatic agreement on Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The January 15 agreement will help streamline the review of projects that have no effect on listed or proposed threatened and endangered species or designated critical habitat. It’s the first transportation programmatic agreement in Maine to include the Army Corps of Engineers as a signatory.
Idaho Project to Use CM/GC Delivery Method
FHWA’s Western Federal Lands Highway Division has issued a construction manager/general contractor solicitation for a contractor to design and build a new Manning Crevice Bridge near Riggins, Idaho. The bridge—a single-tower asymmetric suspension bridge—will replace the historic bridge crossing at Manning Crevice on the Salmon River. The bridge is on Salmon River Road, which provides the only year-round access to nearly 3 million acres of forest land to residences, resorts, commercial rafting ventures and recreational users.
Wyoming Hosts Train-the-Trainer Sessions
The Wyoming Department of Transportation and FHWA hosted two traffic incident management responder training sessions in Riverton and Cheyenne in early January. More than 70 emergency responders from the Wyoming State Highway Patrol, Wyoming League of Rural Firefighters, police departments and towing services participated. The sessions provided trainers with a foundation and presentation tools for promoting consistent responder training with an emphasis on safety, quick clearance and communication during incidents.Â
FHWA and AASHTO Announce SHRP2 Opportunities
Products to speed construction, extend pavement life and reduce utility conflicts are among those offered in round three of the Implementation Assistance Program, part of the second Strategic Highway Research Program. The application process is now open for state highway agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, local and tribal agencies and Federal Lands Highway Divisions. Application forms, product details and application tips are on the SHRP2 website. Applications are due February 14.