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Lessons Learned from State Bridge Bundling Programs

The discussions here present best practices and lessons learned from bridge bundling programs in nine states.

Georgia Design-Build Bridge Replacement Program

In June 2016, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) awarded five design-build contracts advertised earlier in the year that bundle four to six bridge replacements in geographic proximity into single projects. Twenty-five local bridges will be replaced at a cost of $39.6 million, representing the GDOT FY 2016 Design-Build Bridge Replacement program. Below is the list of innovations/best practices:

  • Accelerates delivery of local aging bridges repair and replacement using the performance-based design-build bridge bundles contracts specifying maximum detour durations (up to 210 days per bridge), efficiently streamline delivery, and completion timeframes (1,095 calendar days).
  • Advertised five Design-Build bridge bundle projects each comprising four to five bridge replacements. Construction begins on many bridges in 2017. The Design-build bridge bundles contracts expedites delivery, minimizes public inconvenience, maximizes industry participation and allows the State to get the best overall product for the lowest price.

Massachusetts Accelerated Bridge Program and I-93 FAST 14 Project

When the $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) was adapted by the Massachusetts legislature in 2008, the commonwealth had a total of 543 deficient bridges, a number that was expected to grow to nearly 700 by 2016. That number fell to 432 by March 2017, a 20% decline. Of 200 advertised construction contracts awarded under ABP, 161 focused on the replacement or repair of 270 different bridges, while the other 39 supported maintenance/preservation projects to improve bridge safety on additional Massachusetts bridges. As of March 1, 2017, 186 of the projects were complete; two were terminated with their remaining scope transferred to other contracts; and 12 remained active.

  • Permits the use of design build project delivery may for any projects or multiple projects together without regard to the minimum cost of any project.
  • Allows the use of performance-based design, extended work hours, and procurements that consider the value of accelerated project delivery.
  • Allows hybrid restoration approaches where existing substructures were repaired and retained, while superstructures were replaced with prefabricated modular units.
  • The use of prefabricated bridges and rapid-strength-gain concrete enables significant improvements in accelerating project completion.
  • The use of regular coordination and collaboration across disciplines, and monetary incentives for on-time performance facilitates fast-paced project delivery.
  • Real-time traffic monitoring provides motorists with information with which to make driving decisions, improving traffic management during construction.

Missouri Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program

Missouri accelerated the rehabilitation or replacement of 802 out of 1,093 bridges under the Missouri Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program, which bundled the bridges into two separate procurement packages. MoDOT implemented the program using both modified design-bid-build (MDBB) and design-build procurements after an unsuccessful attempt to use a single design-build-finance-maintain (DBFM) approach that became too costly during the 2008 financial crisis. Below is the list of innovations/best practices:

  • Utilizes two separate bridges bundled contracting methods (Modified Design-Bid-Build and design-build) to let 802 poor/serious condition bridges across each of its 114 counties in three and half years (more than a year ahead of schedule). The project was expected to take more than five years.
  • Saved more than $500 million over the cost of the design-build-finance-maintain P3 concession (25-year) contract. After the initial infeasibility of using a design-build-finance-maintain public-private partnership concession approach due to the financial crisis preceding the Great Recession, MoDOT moved forward with the program in two separate bridges bundled contracting methods.
  • Bundled bridges are grouped by type, size or location to accelerate construction schedules.
  • Minimizes inconvenience to the drivers and local residents. Average bridge closure for 493 bridges was 42 days - nearly half of what a normal MoDOT bridge project would take.
  • Sold Indirect GARVEE bonds ('Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles') to pay for the project, with 24 annual payments of approximately $50 million. MoDOT uses roughly one-third of the Federal bridge replacement funds it receives each year to make those payments.
  • Creates directly or indirectly support more than 5,300 jobs during the economic crisis.
  • Utilizes our local contractors to deliver the work. Over 90 percent of the work was performed by Missouri workers. A total of 41 DBE Companies: 24 contractors, 7 material contractors/suppliers, and 10 professional services.
  • Recognized with the People's Choice Award in the 2013 America's Transportation Awards competition sponsored by the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA and the National Chamber of Commerce.

Nebraska County Bridge Match Program

The County Bridge Match Program dedicates up to $40 million through June 2023 to promote innovation and accelerate the repair and replacement of deficient bridges on county road systems. Bridges must be on a local road or higher functional classification, be a minimum 20 feet in length, be reported in the state bridge inventory as structurally deficient by the end of August 2016, and not have bids for construction already advertised. County participation is voluntary. NDOR will reimburse counties for 55 percent of project construction costs up to $150,000 per bridge. Counties are separately responsible for project development costs (preliminary engineering, construction engineering, environmental requirements, and right-of-way). NDOR identified bridge bundling as an innovative technique shown to generate cost efficiencies and delivery time-savings among peer agencies. Below is the list of unique approaches in bridges bundle implementation by NDOR

  • Pilots innovative solutions like bridges bundling contracts. NDOR defines bridges bundling as one contractor from a single letting is required for bundled bridge projects.
  • Creates transportation infrastructure bank to accelerate road and bridge projects. Provides additional funding to aid in repair and replacement of deficient bridges in the county road system by promoting optional, innovative solutions through state matching funds.
  • Creates a process that empowers and encourages local partnerships to promote innovative solutions and streamline repairs and replacement of deficient bridges in Nebraska's county road system. Participating counties will maintain local control using local consultants and contractor.
  • Establishes scoring selection criteria, including innovation, cost or time savings, sustainability or transferability of innovation, long-term maintenance savings, project significance/risk, needs, and equity.
  • Establishes the counties Bridge Match Program (CBMP) for the innovative replacement and repair of Structurally Deficient (SD) bridges
  • Allows counties to develop and deliver the projects. Counties can use their own staff to design or construct the project but should provide similar information as outside bidders including time and equipment hours for construction.
  • Allows cooperation between multiple counties bundling of multiple bridges. NDOR will only enter into an agreement with the lead county of multi-county proposals, but will require that an inter-local cooperative agreement between all the counties in the proposal is on file with NDOR prior to executing the funding/program agreement.

New York NY Works Accelerated Bridge Program

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) bundled the bridges by region to realize design, cost, and schedule efficiencies. Program goals included improving bridge condition to allow them to remain non-deficient for at least 10 years. Additional goals included achieving a deck service life equal to the remaining life of the bridge, eliminating joints where possible, and improving load rating. The 112 deficient bridges addressed under the NY Works Accelerated Bridge Program used both the traditional design-bid-build and newly authorized design-build project delivery methods. In Phase 1A of the program, NYSDOT initially procured six bundles totaling 64 bridges on a design-bid-build basis. In Phase 1B, it used its new design-build contractual authority to let an additional three bundles totaling thirty-two bridges, for which NYSDOT estimated a twenty-seven percent cost savings over traditional design-bid-build project delivery. Below are some noteworthy innovations/best practices:

  • Uses Bridges Bundle Design Build Contract to deliver the bridges by region to realize design, cost, and schedule efficiencies. Complete 32 bridges as part of its Accelerated Bridge Program. Many of these bridges were bundled together in a single contract based on geographic region, which allowed design-build teams to efficiently deploy resources. Estimated savings of 27 percent over design-bid-build processes.
  • Uses the "Best-Value" selection process to evaluate the ability of the Design-Builder to manage the Design-Build process, design, construct and control the project to provide a quality product, on or ahead of schedule, for a reasonable lump sum price within the Department's project budget.

Ohio Bridge Partnership Program

In October 2013 Governor John Kasich announced the investment of $120 million in federal funding to repair or replace approximately 200 county- and city-owned bridges over three years. The resulting Ohio Bridge Partnership Program has been developed by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in conjunction with the state General Assembly, the County Engineer's Association of Ohio, and participating municipalities. The intent of the program is to reduce the backlog of deficient bridges by addressing the most immediate needs as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Ohio Bridge Partnership Program has used ODOT's "local-let" process to deliver the bridge projects in bundles. The local-let process permits a county or city to perform work on a federal-aid project under certain conditions. ODOT used design-build project delivery to engage local contractors to perform work on the bridge bundles. Below is the list of Innovations/Best Practices

  • Uses innovative finance tools, GARVEE Bonds and Toll Credit as State match to finance 220 county and 20 city bridges in the state, alleviating a need for local entities to contribute funding.
  • Uses the bridges bundle design-build contract and awarded in packages. ODOT let the contract but these bridges still belong to the County and Cities.
  • Expects to repair or replace 200 county bridges and 20 city bridges in three years and potential saving of 15 percent state estimated it would take to complete the project.
  • Works cooperatively with Ohio's County Engineers and municipalities and maintain Transparent in bridge types acceptance process.

Oregon OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program

ODOT's bridge program is leading the way with innovations such as the massive precast beams that increase public safety and mobility, while safeguarding economic and environmental resources. The program completed on schedule and $45 million under budget. Received over 50 awards won locally, nationally and internationally. In 2003, the legislature addressed the problem of deficient bridges by passing OTIA III, a $2.46 billion, 10-year package of new and existing revenue, with $1.3 billion earmarked for a State Bridge Delivery Program and $300 million for city- and county-owned bridges. This innovative program repaired 122 and replaced 149 state-owned bridges over the subsequent 10 years. Initially 365 bridges had been identified for the program, but this was reduced to 271 after further inspections. Below is the list of notable innovations/best practices:

  • Groups the bridge repairs into logical bundles along each highway corridor. Bundling reduces cost by allowing contractors to achieve economies of scale in doing design work, ordering materials, and mobilizing equipment and resources. It also helps traffic engineers make better plans to keep traffic moving during construction.
  • Uses design-bids-build, design-build, and construction manager/general contractor delivery methods. Most of the 85 bundles in the bridge program were contracted using this tried-and-true method, 11 were delivered using two alternatives: design-build and construction manager/general contractor.
  • Implemented web-accessible, GIS database of environmental baseline information provided to contractors to help avoid or minimize environmental impacts during construction and to facilitate environmental performance measurement such as calculate delay estimates related to surveying, utility work, and construction and to optimize lanes closure timings and locations.
  • Utilizes a Materials Market Forecasting Model to predict escalation in key construction commodities that helped contract bridge bundles achieve better than 95 percent budget accuracy.
  • Uses a programmatic environmental approvals process that streamlined notification processes, pre-identified sensitive resources and mitigation opportunities, and granted upfront approvals.
  • Consolidates 14 environmental regulations and 6 permits into a single set of standards agreed to by all applicable resource agencies for use in evaluating any one specific bridge bundle or project. Total of 67 project bundles.
  • Establishes apprenticeship and job training to build skilled, diverse construction workforce that will be an asset for Oregon long after the bridge program is completed. The team partnered with state workforce development organizations to provide job training for potential construction workers.
  • Embraces DBEs by developing a range of contract sizes, ODOT is giving Oregon contractors- including women, minorities, and emerging small businesses-opportunities to compete more effectively with larger national firms
    • 86% of the program's contracts awarded to Oregon-based firms. $184 million paid to disadvantaged, minority-owned, woman owned and emerging small business construction and design firms.
    • Works directly with contractor Hamilton Construction to determine participation targets and to break up work packages into sizes that would suit the needs of the community. For this project, we set a target of 10 percent participation by disadvantaged business enterprises and 10 percent by minority-owned, woman-owned and emerging small businesses, for a total of 20 percent DMWESB participation
  • Created and sustained 22,000 jobs over the life of the bridge program during one of the worst recessions in United States history. The majority of jobs were filled by Oregonians. One of the key legislative mandates for the bridge program is to stimulate Oregon's economy by sustaining job and contracting opportunities, from project development through final bridge construction
  • Observes environmental stewardship - 30,000 cubic yards of rubble from one bridge was reused as aggregate on another OTIA III project.
  • Reduces traffic impact during construction. Materials selection, such as using precast, restressed concrete beams, plays a large part in ODOT's mobility efforts.
  • Reduces waste and reviving habitats: 640,162 tons of materials recycled over the life of the bridge program; 797,782 gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel used, a lower emission fuel than what is usually burned in construction machinery; $21.3 million estimated value from having diverted materials from landfills; 14 acres of Fender's blue butterfly habitat protected.
  • ODOT collaborated with 11 partners in creating and implementing environmental programmatic permitting
    • In six years, permitted 208 bridges, an average of 34 per year
    • Bat environmental performance standard: applied on 88 bridges
    • Fluvial environmental performance standard: applied on 59 bridges
    • Storm water environmental performance standard: applied on 125 bridges.
  • Achieves savings:
    • $7.3 million saved, in terms of costs avoided, through nine information technology systems
    • $73 million saved and saved time by combined 14 statutes into a single set of standards to streamline permitting
    • $.2 million saved in recycling nearly 25,000 tons of materials from a single demolished bridge
    • $1 billion earned by Oregon businesses and individuals after taxes.
    • $.2 million saved in new GIS infrastructure technology from reduced delays for motorists in construction zones.
    • $210 million saved the traveling public by developed a Work Zone Traffic Analysis tool.
    • $700 million avoided in additional program costs by simplified the design exception process.
  • Includes an expansive outreach process in the Columbia River Gorge to develop design guidelines to complement the needs of the local communities.

Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement (RBR) Project

The Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project will replace 558 structurally deficient bridges in three years through a $1.117 billion availability payment-based public-private partnership (P3). The bridges are smaller spans on local streets in rural areas across the state. The project will accelerate the replacement of the bridges with robust, high-quality new structures that will be well maintained and have longer lifespans. By bundling the replacement of over 500 bridges in a single P3 procurement, PennDOT hopes to create efficiencies through economies of scale and by applying asset management best practices throughout the 25-year concession period. The bridges have also been designed to minimize environmental impacts and public inconvenience during construction. This model can potentially be used elsewhere to complete multiple smaller projects that states do not have the capacity to address all at once. Below are the potential innovations/best practices:

  • Uses Innovative Finance Tools, issued $721.5 million in private activity bonds (PABs) and $59.4 million in private equity - P3 model to replace 558 aging or structurally deficient bridges across the state - a first-of-its-kind bundling of the work for multiple bridges into one massive project under a single procurement. It also had the largest ever issue of PABs for a P3 in the US. The largest issue of PABs for a P3 project to date. The state will keep ownership of the bridges throughout the contract.
  • The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, Pennsylvania's first public-private partnership, is also the first P3 in the U.S. to bundle multiple bridges into a single procurement.
  • Bundles bridges of similar size and design, components can be mass produced, which results in a time and cost savings to taxpayers. Allow the bridges to be replaced and maintained at a lower cost than if completed directly by PennDOT. A 20 percent cost savings over the life of the concession period, compared to PennDOT's replacing the bridges itself. The average cost of construction and 28 years of maintenance for each bridge in the P3 contract is $1.6 million. PennDOT estimates that their cost would have been more than $2 million through a standard process.
  • Obtained a SEP-15 waiver to delegate NEPA/permitting responsibility to the private partner as part of the agreement.
  • Uses 11 Pennsylvania-based subcontractors. Established the special event to share information on the Rapid Bridge Project and to begin to establish the relationships that will result in increased DBE participation
  • Locks in maintenance costs for the next 25 years. The public benefit of this approach is the delivery of a well-maintained asset over that contract term, avoiding the possibility that state budget priorities would require deferring maintenance in the years to come. Funding: Mobilization, milestone and availability payments from PennDOT; general revenues; and interest earned.
  • Achieves a sizeable reduction of the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state over a very short period of time (in just 3 years).
  • Sets many precedents: Pennsylvania's first transportation P3 project, the nation's first multi-bridges availability payment concession, and the first project in which the developer won approval through the SEP-15 program to conduct the environmental process.
  • Developed a strong procurement process:
    • Screening for best-fit bridges-two-tiered screening process was deployed to identify which bridges were the best fit for the project
    • Innovation in logistics and supply chain management
    • Early completion bridges (ECBs) and "remaining eligible bridges" (REBs) was included in the procurement putting replacement in the fast track
    • Phased handback requirements: vegetation is handed back 1 year after a bridge's completion; flexible pavement after 5 years; and all remaining elements after 25 years
    • Strong P3s agreement between PennDOT and its private-sector-the 558 SD bridges are scheduled to be replaced by the end of 2017, decades sooner than could otherwise be achieved without this strong agreement
  • Provides technical assistance to counties and navigates the procurement process to issue a request for proposals and select the private partner to design and construct the bridges, i.e. Northampton County plans to replace 28 bridges and rehabilitate five others across the County. This process allows Northampton County to address infrastructure needs and provides the following benefits:
    • Eliminate Structurally Deficient Bridges;
    • Address Safety Needs;
    • Remove Weight Limit Postings;
    • Exceed Traditional Delivery Schedule; and
    • Realize Cost Savings

Rhode Island RhodeWorks Bridge Projects

RhodeWorks accelerates the reconstruction and rehabilitation of more than 150 structurally deficient bridges and applies preservation measures to another 500 bridges to prevent them from becoming deficient. The Program implementation is at a very early stage with most bridges not yet in final design or construction. However, there are some notable Innovations/Best Practices.

  • Bridge program financing includes the first application of truck-only tolling in the U.S. and GARVEE bonds. Borrowed $300 million against future federal highway funding and refinance old (GARVEE Bonds) borrowing to yield an additional $120 million in saving.
  • Bridge projects are fully programmed in a 10-year State Transportation Improvement Program- only the third 10-year plan in the nation to be approved by FHWA/FTA (the other two being New Jersey and North Carolina). Fix more than 150 structurally deficient bridges in Rhode Island, and make repairs to another 500 bridges to prevent them from becoming deficient.
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