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

Approved Work Plans New Orleans, LA – Congress Street

SPN: H.009987
SEP-14 Workplan to Evaluate the Use of Local Hiring Preferences on a Joint FHWA/HUD Funded Project

A. Introduction

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) submits this work plan for review and approval as a design-bid-build project incorporating the use of Housing and Urban Development (I-IUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in conjunction with Emergency Relief (ER) funds for the payment of costs of the Project relative to Congress Street. Funding for the projects included in the Paths to Progress program must be eligible for ER funding in accordance with existing program requirements. A Damage Inspection Report (DIR) has been approved for Congress Street which includes milling of two inches of existing asphalt, full depth patching and paving two inches of asphalt. The City of New Orleans (CNO) has requested a "betterment" within the limits of the project to improve the quality and durability of the work being performed. This betterment includes concrete reconstruction along Congress from Prentiss Street to Hayne Boulevard . Inclusion of the betterment has been approved by the LaDOTD, and LaDOTD is agreeable to accommodating the CNO's use of a funding source other than ER, if feasible. The CNO intends to use CDBG funds as an innovative financing technique to fund this betterment. The usual manner of contract funding for this Project involves, thus far, exclusive funding via the ER Program.

B. Purpose

The proposed combination of FHWA ER funding with CDBG is intended to promote and enhance livability and sustainability as part of the Congress Street Project.

The purpose of this workplan is to evaluate the use of funding and program requirements from both the FHWA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in a single contract. The requirements associated with these programs would ordinarily be incompatible under a single contract. HUD's Section 3 requires that preferential hiring be afforded to those individuals living in the project area. FHWA regulations prohibit preferential hiring. However, for contracts approved under FHWA's SEP-14 program, the prohibition on hiring preferences would be waived to accommodate only Section 3 requirements. See the Notice in the Federal Register, 75 FR 36467, "Livability Initiative under Special Experimental Project No. 14 or http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-06-25/pdf/2010-15438.pdf (.pdf, )

C. Scope

Combining the current funding source of FHW A ER funding available to LaDOTD that are approved/authorized for the P2P projects with the HUD CDBG funding available to the City of New Orleans for the Congress Street Project will allow the entire project to be procured and bid under a single contract. Compliance with the training, employment and contracting requirements of HUD's section 3 will be adhered to and is necessary to meet program requirements for the use of CDBG funds. LaDOTD will comply with all requirements, including reporting requirements, of HUD's Section 3, in addition to meeting FHW A requirements.

Generally, all HUD and FHWA requirements seek to satisfy the same goals and objectives: that is, compliance with NEPA, the Clean Air and Water Acts, Civil Rights Acts, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, conformance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and Office of Management and Budget Circular A-87 (cost principles for State and Local Governments, etc. In sum, LaDOTD administers its programs and contracts in conformance with the same applicable federal requirements as are implicated by the use of HUD CDBG funding. In most instances, the separate requirements of HUD and the FHW A will require LaDOTD and/or its contractor to duplicate reporting and other documentation of compliance. Specifically with respect to meeting DBE requirements, LaDOTD has determined that, in administering this Project, it can satisfy the requirements of both its FHWA approved DBE Program, as well as incorporate additional measures to meet the HUD's Section 3 program requirements.

Relative to the City of New Orleans, this project is part of a comprehensive implementation plan that includes more than $32M in park and infrastructure improvements. These investments have attracted investment from other public agencies such as the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), which is redeveloping housing and a new Wal-Mart in the Pontilly area. An additional $10M in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hazard mitigation improvements are also scheduled over the next two years.

The project scope involves the improvement of 1.7 miles of existing roadway (Congress Drive from Chef Menteur Highway to Hayne Boulevard) to support a more sustainable transportation system in the Pontilly area. Congress Drive is a collector street and Federal Aid Route that provides access to destinations such as residences, Pontchartrain Park, Coghill Elementary School, Southern University at New Orleans, the newly constructed MLB financed Wesley Barrow Stadium and a future Wal-Mart store (anticipated 2014). The project is comprised of two road sections based on existing soil conditions. Congress Drive (Chef Menteur Highway to Prentiss Street; 0.9 mile) will be resurfaced with asphaltic concrete and Congress Drive (Prentiss Street to Hayne Boulevard) will be replaced with Portland cement concrete pavement. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant curb ramps, bus stop improvements, and a designated bikeway will be provided throughout the corridor.

Relative to LaDOTD, this project is included in the LaDOTD P2P program, the purpose of which is to rehabilitate roadways on the federal system damaged as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita including damages incurred on routes designated as haul routes for debris removal.

D. Competition

All advertisement and competitive bidding provisions on this project will be the same as all other projects managed under the Paths to Progress program and will be consistent with existing DOTD specifications. The additional HUD contracting requirements will be included in the special provisions for this project (specifically, the Section 3 Clause found at 24 CFR Part 135.38, will be inserted into all contract documentation, verbatim).

The LaDOTD will evaluate the effects of HUD's economic opportunity requirements by comparing bid results with the four other planned FHW A only bid lettings for this P2P program. The four other bid lettings include over 40 separate road segments of similar scope and geographical proximity.

The funding breakdown for this project is as follows:

  • Congress Drive (Chef Menteur Highway to Prentiss Street) is estimated to cost $2.53 million for mill, patch and asphalt overlay.
  • CDBG grant funding to perform concrete reconstruction (vs. asphalt overlay) on Congress Drive (Prentiss Street to Hayne Boulevard) in the amount of $1.54 million.

The addition of CDBG funding increases the total funding for the project by 3 8% and commensurately increases the economic benefits to the project.

In addition, some contractor efficiencies are anticipated by combining the funding and advancing the project under a single contract. Mobilization, traffic control, and construction sequencing will be simplified and costs for these pay items will be paid for using ER and CDBG dollars respectively in accordance with the percentage of scope for each segment of work. For example, if (hypothetical) the asphalt portion of the project is 60% of the total cost, then ER dollars will be used to pay 60% of the lump sum pay items and CDBG funds will be used to pay the other 40%. Another potential efficiency is the significant addition of the concrete paving quantities on the CDBG portion should result in a lower unit cost per square yard for the concrete pavement patching in the ER portion of the project. Also, increased concrete work should increase the opportunity for DBE participation thru concrete mix supply and concrete removal and installation.

E. Livability

The proposed improvements to sidewalk continuity and accessibility, the creation of a designated bikeway, and improvements to transit stops will result in a more walk-, bike-, and transit-friendly corridor. The combined benefits from the project provide substantial improvements to user mobility and access to nearby activities and services as well as expanded transportation mode choice. The Congress Drive corridor improvements are further enhanced by the recent additions of bikeways on Press Drive, Chef Menteur, and Gentilly Boulevard; a walking path in Pontchartrain Park; and biodiesel bus transit routes on streets such as Congress, Press, Gentilly Boulevard and Leon C. Simon. These improvements will specifically benefit economically disadvantaged populations, nondrivers, senior citizens and persons with disabilities in along the corridor and facilitate access and connections to goods, commodities and services in the area. The proposed improvements are further supported by the City's new Complete Streets policy, which requires that roadway improvements be designed to improve safety, livability, equity, mode-share, and ecosystem. While the project is a response to specifically address and rehabilitate the damages caused by hurricanes Katrina/Rita, Complete Streets planning guidelines were followed including environmental clearance, public meetings and full community involvement.

Improving the roadway to better function as a multi-modal corridor will reduce the number of short trips by automobile and associated C02 and fuel consumption.

F. Sustainability

The proposed project will support a more sustainable transportation system for the Pontilly area of New Orleans and result in an overall positive environmental impact. Through reinvestment in the existing street network, the project will result in compact multi-modal connections to the various residential, park, school, and retail destinations in Pontilly area. With a total length of 1.6 miles and width of 0.8 miles, most trips within the Pontilly area can be made by foot, bike, or bus. Congress Drive provides a major north-south connector that can facilitate additional non-motorized and transit trips.

For nearly 40 years the Pontilly area has functioned as a low- to medium-density urban area with a fully connected and developed footprint. The proposed project will not result in the net urbanization of additional land and work is specifically limited to existing roadway space. Storm water volumes exiting the improved corridor are anticipated to be equal to or less than the existing conditions. This outcome is further supported by the future construction of a separate Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded $15M storm water management project that will reduce the overall storm water runoff and reduce flooding in the Pontilly area. Consequently, no adverse impacts to receiving streams or wildlife habitat are anticipated due to the proposed project.

The proposed project represents an exceptional opportunity to realize mutual interagency sustainability goals. The combination of FHW A and D-CDBG funding will result in a more transportation choices in an existing, economically viable area of New Orleans. The proposed project is also an opportunity to enhance the impact and ensure the success of other recent HUD-funded investments in the community including more than $32M for the restoration of Pontchartrain Park, Joe Bartholemew Municipal Golf Course, Wesley Barrow Stadium, and associated infrastructure and additional investment in hazard mitigation and residential and retail development projects by NORA in the Pontilly area.

G. Reporting

LaDOTD will prepare and submit initial, interim, and final reports on this 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 additional/pertinent HUD contracting requirements and any identifiable effects on the bids received, as a consequence of the addition of HUD contracting requirements.

An interim report will be submitted midway through the construction phase of the project.

A final report will be submitted upon completion of the contract and final LaDOTD acceptance of the project. The final report will contain and overall evaluation of the project along with any suggestions and recommendations for improving the process of contracting with a combination of FHW A and HUD funding.

Updated: 08/31/2021
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