U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
D.C., USDOT Sign Agreement With Contractor To Preserve, Enhance City's Major Roads and Bridges
U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today was joined by Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton in announcing a $70 million, five-year agreement to maintain, improve and preserve 75 miles of key roadways in the District of Columbia.
"President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to an increased federal partnership with the District of Columbia, one of America's most treasured sites, " Secretary Slater said. "Under this partnering agreement, important roads and streets will be preserved and better maintained, which will benefit residents and visitors alike."
Eighty percent of the funding for the project came from federal-aid highway funds that had been set aside for the now-canceled Barney Circle freeway project in Washington, D.C., and the remaining funds, from the District of Columbia. Work under the contract will begin this month.
"This partnership will enable the city to do a better job of providing its citizens, visitors, and businesses with smoother pavements and safer roadways on both the National Highway System and in local neighborhoods," Mayor Williams said. "I am pleased to welcome Secretary Slater as a full and committed partner to our effort to rebuild the District's roads. I believe this partnership will help us achieve the gold standard of service for our citizens and set the standard for other urban areas."
The effort is called "D.C. Streets: An Innovative Partnership for Better Roads." The agreement enables VMS Inc., a Richmond, Va.-based contractor with offices in northeast Washington, to manage roads in the District that constitute the city's part of the National Highway System, which are heavily used by residents, commuters, businesses and tourists. This will enable the D.C. Department of Public Works (DCDPW) to focus its limited resources on rehabilitating and maintaining the more than 1,000 miles of other roads and neighborhood streets in the District.
In the District, NHS roads include the heavily traveled segments of the District's I-295 and I-395 as well as gateways like Canal Road, Wisconsin Avenue, Connecticut Avenue, Military Road, Georgia Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Avenue, Independence Avenue, New York Avenue, Branch Avenue and others.
As part of the project, VMS will manage and preserve for five years 344 lane-miles of pavement, 118 bridges, 2,950 drainage catch basins and seven miles of drainage ditches, 450,000 feet of curbs and gutters, four major and four minor tunnels, 108,270 feet of guardrail, and 51 impact attenuators (crash cushions).
The effort also covers several major cleaning tasks that will help with beautification of the District. VMS will perform roadside and roadway cleaning and graffiti removal and perform cleaning after special events. In addition, the eight tunnels on the roads will receive regular cleanings, and roadside vegetation will be maintained in an attractive condition. The project will include snow and ice control starting during the winter of 2001-2002.
"We are delighted that VMS has been selected for the partnership for the National Highway Asset Preservation Program," said Nick Masucci, president VMS, Inc. "Working together, we are confident that the program will be a success for all and that the city's roadways will meet the needs and the expectations of the community. Our intent is for this project to be of benefit to the local economy immediately. VMS also will be instituting an outreach program to involve District residents and subcontractors."
The National Highway System (NHS), designated by law in 1995, is the backbone of the nation's transportation system in the 21st century. Its 161,000 miles include the 46,000-mile interstate system as well as other key roads, such as other urban and rural principal roads. The NHS constitutes only 4 percent of America's public roads but carries more than 40 percent of the nation's highway traffic, 75 percent of its commercial traffic and 90 percent of its tourist traffic.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, provided managerial advice and engineering services to the District to develop the performance-based contract.
FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle noted that the agreement marks the first urban, performance-based asset preservation effort of its kind in the United States. "Performance-based contracting provides flexibility by focusing on outcomes, not on process. It's an innovative and common-sense approach that could serve as a model for other municipalities," he said.
The FHWA worked with the District to conduct an inventory of NHS roadways to assess the condition of roads, bridges, tunnels, vegetation and roadside maintenance. The inventory enabled DCDPW to establish a maintenance baseline to be used to evaluate the performance of the contractor and the effectiveness of the program.
The District and the FHWA have the option to competitively advertise a new contract in 2005 to continue responsibility for NHS roads within the District of Columbia.