U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration



City of Phoenix Work Plan for SEP 14 Construction Manager at Risk Contract Phoenix Regional Fiber Optic Backbone

June 23, 2003

Phoenix Project: ST 89360003
Federal Aid Project: CM-PHX-0-(037)P

Project Manager:
Robert R. Steele
ITS Manager
City of Phoenix
Street Transportation Department
200 West Washington Street, 6th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003-1611


The City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department (PHXSTD) submits this work plan for review and approval as a Construction Manager at Risk (CM@R) project under the provisions of Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP 14) for the use of innovative contracting practices. Both the City of Phoenix and the State of Arizona have approved this contract method.

Currently the City of Phoenix, Street Transportation Department has another CM@R project under way. The Downtown Traffic Management System (DTMS) CM-PHX-0(25)P and CM-PHX-0(35)P. This project is proceeding extremely well using this contract mechanism. The initial Process Evaluation Report was submitted in February of 2003. The final Process Evaluation Report for the DTMS will be submitted after the conclusion of the construction phase of the contract in March of 2004.

As is the Downtown Traffic Management System (DTMS), the Phoenix Regional Fiber Optic Backbone (FOB) is not a typical Street Transportation construction project. Instead, it is a project that is still evolving and taking on new partners. This project includes traditional street construction components, such as conduit and fiber optic cable installation, and the installation of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) field devices. However, because this is a Phoenix metropolitan area regional project, interest from other government transportation agencies has increased recently. The project is under environmental review and the design will be completed following the environmental review and clearance and will be bid ready by early September and include the requirements for the following original regional partners:

  • Arizona DOT, Transportation Technology Group (ADOT)
  • City of Phoenix, Aviation Department
  • City of Phoenix, Information Technology Department
  • City of Phoenix, Street Transportation Department

Major connections that are included in the current plans are:

  • ADOT Traffic Operations Center to ADOT Headquarters
  • Sky Harbor International Airport to Deer Valley Regional Airport
  • 43 Traffic Signals and (1) Dynamic Message Sign to the PHX Traffic Management Center (TMC)

Potential partners that are not included in the current plans, but who have expressed interest in connectivity provided by this project, are:

  • Regional Bus Transit
  • Regional Light Rail Transit
  • Arizona Department of Public Safety
  • City of Phoenix Police Department
  • City of Phoenix Fire Department

Major Connections that are not included in the current plans are:

  • Regional Bus Transit to ADOT TOC
  • Regional Light Rail Transit to ADOT TOC
  • City of Phoenix Fire Department to ADOT TOC
  • Arizona Department of Public Safety to City of Phoenix Police Department

The CM@R contract mechanism has two phases. The first is the pre-construction phase. The second is the construction phase. The first phase allows us to review, modify, and add to the existing design as part of the pre-construction phase. This design review and modification is a unique window of opportunity not found in other more traditional contract mechanisms.

Another aspect of the current design centers on the basic connection methods used for the fiber hook up. The current design is based on simple point to point connections. One of the primary links that is required in the Phoenix metropolitan area is the link between the City of Phoenix TMC and the ADOT TOC. At present, there are four fibers available on a point to point basis that was provided through City of Phoenix franchise agreements with final connectivity provided through AZTech. This project will provide an additional four fibers through the City of Phoenix backbone, which will connect to four fibers provided by ADOT along I-17. This will result in a four fiber ring between the City of Phoenix TMC and the ADOT TOC. As the demand for connectivity between the City of Phoenix TMC and the ADOT TOC increases, the demand for bandwidth will exceed the capability of the four fiber ring on a point to point basis, thereby requiring an upgrade to a more sophisticated communications network (end equipment) such as dense wave division multiplexing in order to handle the increased demand instituted by our potential new partners. This could be addressed and designed during the pre-construction design review phase.

Due to the nature of the project, the prime contractor must be carefully evaluated and selected based on several criteria, not solely that of lowest responsive bid. The selection emphasis needs to consider the firm's qualifications. The firm's experience with fiber optic backbone design (both point to point and multiplexing), construction and integration of projects comparable to the requirements of the FOB are critical to the successful completion of the project.


The proposed CM@R method of award is an innovative process, which has been approved by both the City of Phoenix and the State of Arizona's Legislature. Utilizing the CM@R methodology will place the responsibility for design review, design modifications, system integration, and constructing the FOB with a single Contractor. This approach will produce a quality system and provide for efficient project scheduling/coordination, which will result in cost savings. The traditional construction contract method, which results in award of a contract to the lowest responsive bidder, is not desirable for this unique project, given its complexity and its potential for adding additional partners.

As described in Innovative Contracting Practices for ITS, Task E - Final Report by L.S. Gallegos & Associates, prepared for the FHWA, Page III-A-15, 3rd paragraph, when cost is the primary method of evaluation, the following disadvantages to "low bid" awards have to be considered.

Disadvantages of traditional "low bid" contract award:

  1. "Prescriptive specifications may either be unavailable for emerging technology, or too difficult or time consuming for the public agency to prepare,
  2. It discourages (or precludes) innovation in design and construction or installation methods,
  3. It does not allow the owner to consider any factors other than price in selecting the contractor (except at a fairly low responsibility pre qualification level),
  4. The contractor is likely to feel they left too much money on the table and may try to cut costs during design and construction, adversely affecting quality, and,
  5. It does not permit a meaningful dialogue between the owner and the individual bidders to work out the appropriate solution to the transportation agency's needs."

General Description of CM@R:

"This process, adopted and promoted by many large general contracting firms, is similar in many ways to the traditional process, in that the CM@R acts as a general contractor during construction. That is, the CM@R holds the risk of subletting the construction work to trade subcontractors and guaranteeing completion of the project for a fixed, negotiated price following completion of the design. However, in this scenario, the CM@R also provides advisory professional management assistance to the owner prior to construction, offering schedule, budget and constructibility advice during the project-planning phase. Thus, instead of a traditional general contractor, the owner deals with a hybrid construction manager/general contractor.

In addition to providing the owner with the benefit of pre-construction services, which may result in advantageous changes to the project, the CM@R scenario offers the opportunity to begin construction prior to completion of the design. The CM@R can bid and subcontract portions of the work at any time, often while design of unrelated portions is still not complete. In this circumstance, the CM@R and owner negotiate a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) based on a partially completed design, which includes the CM@R's estimate of the cost for the remaining design features. Furthermore, CM@R may allow performance specifications or reduced specifications to be used, since the CM@R's input can lead to early agreement on preferred materials, equipment types and other project features.

An owner wishing to use the CM@R approach can realize many benefits. Chief among them are the opportunity to incorporate a contractor's perspective and input to planning and design decisions and the ability to "fast-track" early components of construction prior to full completion of design. However, since a commitment is made to a contractor earlier in the process, a premium is placed on the proper selection of the CM@R to provide the best value to the owner."

Choosing the Best Delivery Method for Your Facility Project

by Blake Peck, CCM, McDonough Bolyard Peck, Inc.

Innovative Contract Features:

The CM@R will have the keystone responsibility of coordinating and integrating the new partners and their needs into the project.

The CM@R will provide advisory professional management assistance prior to construction (pre-construction services). The CM@R will have the latitude to recommend and implement design changes, provided a benefit is recognized.

The construction may be done is phases. The CM@R approach will enable construction to begin as soon as a component is ready. Thus, allowing for a shorter completion schedule.


Description of Project:

The CM@R shall furnish, install, integrate and test a FOB in the City of Phoenix as per the Final Plans and Special Provisions.

The CITY has been actively pursuing public/private partnership agreements with private telecommunication providers for several years. These resource-sharing agreements are with fiber providers who have installed infrastructure in the CITY's right-of-way. The facilities provided under these agreements generally fall within one of three scenarios; bandwidth at no to low cost, dark fibers, and empty conduit. The empty conduit obligations under these agreements typically include access points, many of which have yet to be established. For this project the CITY is using empty conduit.

The CITY will utilize, where possible, the existing conduit to install fiber optic cable. Where existing backbone conduit is not available and where field devices need to be connected, the CITY will build a new conduit system and install fiber optic cable.

It is the desire of the CITY to establish a fiber optic network that will provide connectivity for the four current partners:

  1. Arizona DOT, Transportation Technology Group (ADOT)
  2. City of Phoenix, Aviation Department
  3. City of Phoenix, Information Technology Department
  4. City of Phoenix, Street Transportation Department

If the CM@R contract mechanism is approved, provide connections for the five potrntial partners:

  1. Regional Bus Transit
  2. Regional Light Rail Transit
  3. Arizona Department of Public Safety
  4. City of Phoenix Police Department
  5. City of Phoenix Fire Department

Also if budget permits, design and build a continuous carrier service level, self-healing ring, fiber optic backbone.

Attaining the CITY's goal of establishing a fiber optic communication backbone will complete a significant step toward implementing a regional transportation telecommunication network as recommended in the MAG Regional Community Network Study - working papers 8 and 9.

A project map is on the next page.

Project map as discussed above


The CM@R method will include the following sequential phasing:

Phase 1 Prepare and advertise the Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

The RFQ will include a general project description and scope as well as information on how to obtain the bid package including the completed plans, specifications, special provisions and City of Phoenix and FHWA requirements.

The RFQ will request that the contractors submit a qualification proposal that will include:

  1. Experience and qualifications of the Contractor and proposed team members in providing these services on similar projects. For each project, provide the project description, award, date, construction cost estimate, and percent of work currently completed. List a reference for each project. - 20 points
  2. Experience and qualifications of the Contractor and proposed team members in developing, furnishing, installing, integrating, and testing fiber optic backbones. - 20 points
  3. Understanding of the project by the Contractor, including discussion on the team's proposed implementation approach. Contractor shall describe intended project management methods, quality control plan, and how the project will be coordinated with City staff. - 20 points
  4. Current/recent workload. Also, list all projects awarded to the Contractor by the City during the last two years (excluding annual service contracts). - 10 points
  5. Principal office location and local office work role. Identify each team members' home office and the percent of work to be performed at the local office. - 5 points
  6. rovide statements of the financial condition of the Contractor. - 5 points
  7. Overall evaluation and opinion of the team's capability to provide the required services. - 20 points

Maximum Score = 100 points

Phase II: Interview Contractors

  • Hold RFQ pre-submittal meeting
  • Evaluate statement of qualifications submittals and select the most qualified for interviews
  • Interview

At the pre-submittal meeting for all the interested contractors, the City of Phoenix will answer questions and clarify the project scope.

Based on the above evaluation criteria and assigned point valuation, select the most qualified. (Minimum of two contractors must be selected). Request the selected contractors to prepare for an interview. The interview will require the contractors to elaborate on the following:

  • Qualifications - 10 points
  • Experience - 10 points
  • Project Management Team - 10 points
  • Project Vision - 10 points
  • Project Objectives - 10 points
  • Project Deliverables - 10 points
  • Proposed Schedule - 10 points
  • Technical Considerations - 10 points
  • Issues and Barriers - 10 points
  • Cost Saving Measures - 10 points

Maximum Score = 100 points

Phase III: Pre-Construction Negotiations

  • Selection of the most qualified CM@R
  • Prepare scope and fee
  • Negotiate a contract for pre-construction services
  • Prepare contract
  • Obtain approvals

Issue a notice to proceed

Based on the interview scoring select the most qualified Contractor to perform as the CM@R. Negotiate a contract for pre-construction services. If a contract agreement cannot be reached with the most qualified, offer a contract to the second most qualified and begin negotiations, etc,

Phase IV: Pre-Construction Services

Pre-construction services will consist of the CM@R reviewing the scope of work, existing plans, specifications, and special provisions. Recommending changes and modifications if needed to accommodate the new partners and to evaluate upgrading the communications system from point to point to a carrier level service. The CM@R also will provide advisory professional management assistance to the City of Phoenix prior to construction, offering schedule, budget, and constructibility advice.

Phase V: Construction Services

  • Prepare scope and fee
  • Negotiate and execute a contract amendment with a guaranteed maximum price
  • Prepare contract amendment
  • Obtain approvals
  • Issue a notice to proceed

The CM@R and the City of Phoenix will negotiate a guaranteed maximum price based on the completed design and the CM@R estimate for the remaining design features. The primary duties of the CM@R during the Construction Phase will be to:

  1. Manage and coordinate design and construction activities
  2. Address and satisfy all Federal requirements
  3. Complete project as described by the final plans and specifications
  4. Coordinate all activities with the City's Project Manager

The CM@R will bid and subcontract portions of the work. The CM@R shall adhere to Federal DBE and wage requirements. The final acceptance of this turnkey project will be based on the successful completion of the Systems Acceptance Test as described in the Special Provisions. The CM@R will solicit and procure sub-contractors as needed.

Selection Committee:

The following selection committee will evaluate the Qualifications and Proposals:

  1. City of Phoenix Engineering and Architectural Services, Contract Administrator
  2. City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department, Traffic Engineering Supervisor
  3. City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department, Project Manager
  4. City of Phoenix Department of Construction Management, Project Manager
  5. Independent Communications Contractor


Phase I: Estimated duration is two (2) months

Phase II: Estimated duration is three (3) months

Phase III: Estimated duration is two (2) months

Phase IV: Estimated duration is six (6) months

Phase V: Estimated duration is twelve (12) months

Total project duration is approximately twenty five (25) months

Measures & Reporting

The intent is to evaluate this project based on improved quality, cost saving, and timesaving. The City of Phoenix will be retaining Kimley-Horn and Associates to assist in this evaluation and provide design professional advice during the pre-construction phase.

PHXSTD will prepare and submit an initial, and a final report on this project. The initial report will be prepared at the approximate time of award of the pre-construction services contract. The initial report will include a description of the CM@R process to date, problems encountered, benefits received, and lessons learned.

A final report will be submitted upon completion of the contract and final PHXSTD acceptance. The final report will contain an overall evaluation of the project from the City of Phoenix, Kimley-Horn & Associates and the Contractor along with any suggestions and recommendations for improving the process. In addition, we will discuss our relationship with the Contractor, quality of the final product, number of changes to the original scope of work, additional cost, problems encountered and benefits received.

Phoenix Logo
City of Phoenix

Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000