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SEP-14 Workplan: DFW Connector


February ___, 2008

Mr. Janice Weingart Brown
Division Administrator
Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Office Building, Suite 826
300 East 8th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Re: Request for SEP-14 Approval for the DFW Connector Project

Dear Ms. Brown:

This letter constitutes an application for SEP-14 approval of the Texas Department of Transportation ("TxDOT") plan to enter into a comprehensive development agreement ("CDA") for development of the DFW Connector Project using a design-build delivery method. The CDA will also include a Capital Maintenance Agreement ("CMA") which provides TxDOT with an option to require the developer team to provide capital maintenance services for a term of up to fifteen years. This contracting process is authorized by Chapter 223 of the Texas Transportation Code ("the Code") and Chapter 27 of the TxDOT rules (43 Tex. Admin. Code Sections 27.1 et. seq.) ("the Rules"), regarding the use of CDAs for toll projects.

Enclosed are five (5) copies of the work plan proposed under SEP-14 for the DFW Connector project in Tarrant County, Texas. This project is part of an overall strategy to relieve the heavy traffic congestion in the North Central Texas corridors between Fort Worth and Dallas. Once completed, the DFW Connector will significantly improve highway operations within this very congested regional commuting, interstate and intrastate travel zone. Therefore, we respectfully request that FHWA approve the enclosed work plan.

TxDOT expects to coordinate closely with FHWA throughout the implementation of the CDA procurement process. As we expect to submit a request for proposal ("RFP") package to pre-qualified and shortlisted developer teams by March 2008, time is of the essence and we would greatly appreciate your earliest consideration of our application.

Please feel free to contact Mr. Phillip E. Russell, P.E. as you review this application and do not hesitate to request our agency and staff meet with you at your offices if you need any clarifications or further explanations. The DFW Connector and the assistance and support of the FHWA are of significant importance to TxDOT and North Central Texas. Accordingly, we will be happy to meet and talk with you at your convenience.


Amadeo Saenz, Jr., P.E.
Executive Director

Work Plan for the DFW Connector Project

(Texas Department of Transportation) Application for SEP-14 Approval)


The Texas Department of Transportation ("TxDOT") hereby submits this work plan for review and approval by the FHWA of the proposed DFW Connector Project ("Project") as a project under the provisions of Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP-14).

The planned procurement approach for the Project is authorized by Chapter 223 of the Texas Transportation Code (the "Code") and Chapter 27 of the TxDOT Rules (43 Tex. Admin. Code Sections 27.1 et seq) (the "Rules"). Copies of Chapter 223 of the Code and the Rules are attached hereto as Exhibit A.

The Project will include improvements to the SH 114/SH 121 Corridor, including the addition of tolled managed lanes to be located along SH 114 from east of FM 1709 to east of International Parkway. It also involves the reconstruction of, and increased capacity for, SH 114 from SH 114L Business to east of International Parkway and SH 121 from north of FM 2499 to south of SH 360. The improvements will include other facilities to the extent necessary for connectivity, mobility, and safety, such as the reconstruction of several directional interchanges, highway merge/diverges, arterial flyover connections and cross-street interchanges. Construction of collector-distributor roads, a managed lane facility, braided ramps, system ramps and frontage roads is included in the overall Project scope.

The procurement plan contemplates using a single developer to design and construct the Project. TxDOT also plans to enter into a Capital Maintenance Agreement ("CMA") which provides TxDOT with an option to require the developer to provide capital maintenance services for a term of up to fifteen years. The comprehensive development agreement documents including the CMA will be executed concurrently and are collectively referred to herein as the Comprehensive Development Agreement ("CDA").

On December 29, 2006, TxDOT issued a Request for Qualifications ("RFQ") seeking responses from developer teams interested in becoming pre qualified to submit proposals for the Project. The RFQ required each developer team to submit Statements of Qualifications ("QSs") by May 1, 2007. TxDOT evaluated the QSs and selected three qualified developer teams that will receive a request for proposal ("RFP"). The RFP will require both technical and price proposals. The CDA will be awarded on a best value basis.

B. Summary of Experimental Project Feature

TxDOT requests FHWA to approve the following experimental aspect of the Project:

  • Including a statement in the RFP that, during negotiations prior to CDA execution, Alternative Technical Concepts ("ATCs") from unsuccessful proposers may be presented to the selected developer for possible incorporation into the CDA documents.


The primary purpose for the requested experimental feature is to enable TxDOT to maximize the public benefits of the Project by utilizing every viable ATC that may be presented by proposers in response to the RFP, including ATCs presented by proposers who are not selected to be the developer of the Project.


The scope of this SEP-14 request is limited to the Project. The process will provide for the competitive procurement of a developer team to design and construct, and possibly repair and maintain the Project. In particular, the process contemplates that ATCs from unsuccessful Proposers may, in TxDOT's discretion, be presented to the selected developer for possible incorporation into the Project during negotiation of the final terms of the CDA. Once an ATC has been incorporated through the negotiation process, it is required to be implemented by the developer regardless of whether that ATC originated with the developer or with one of the unsuccessful proposers.


TxDOT's goal is to complete the Project by the Summer of 2013. To achieve this goal, TxDOT has established the following preliminary schedule (all dates in the future are subject to change):

  • December 29, 2006 Request for Qualifications issued.*
  • May 1, 2007 Statements of Qualifications received*
  • June 26, 2007 Three developer teams shortlisted to submit formal proposals*
  • March 2008 RFP issued to shortlisted developer teams
  • June 2008 RFP Proposals Due
  • August 2008 Developer team selected for negotiations
  • September 2008 CDA executed
  • Summer 2013 Project Completion Deadline
  • Fall 2013 Final evaluation report due



TxDOT anticipates that the experimental feature described herein will achieve the following goals:

  • Maximizing innovation and potential cost savings in project design, planning, construction, operation and maintenance; and
  • Accelerating delivery of the Project, while achieving cost and schedule certainty early in the design phase.

G. Description of Procurement Process, RFP Terms and Experimental Project Features

1. Procurement Process

The proposed procurement approach for the Project is comparable to that approved by FHWA for the Texas Department of Transportation's SH 130 Segments 1 through 4 Project.

The proposer will be selected using a best value evaluation process, based on considerations that include technical and financial feasibility, transportation efficiency, cost effectiveness, and acceleration of project delivery. The CDA procurement included a shortlisting step. In addition, TxDOT recognizes the benefits associated with conducting an industry review process, and invited shortlisted firms to attend one-on-one meetings to obtain information about the Project and CDA. Drafts of procurement documents have been made available to FHWA during the course of the industry review process. TxDOT plans to issue the RFP to shortlisted firms (including CDA terms) following delivery of the final RFP documents to FHWA for review. All pre-RFP communications with industry representatives have and will continue to conform to applicable State law.

The proposals will be evaluated in accordance with the process and evaluation factors described in the Code, the Rules and the RFP. TxDOT will determine the value to the public of delivery of the Project as promised in the proposal, as well as evaluating the likelihood that the proposer will be able to successfully deliver the Project. TxDOT may request clarifications and supplemental information from proposers as TxDOT deems appropriate to allow a best value determination to be made.

Upon conclusion of the evaluation process, TxDOT may proceed with one-on-one negotiations with the apparent best value proposer, prior to award, for the purpose of determining the terms and conditions of the CDA. Negotiations could include the incorporation of unsuccessful proposers' ideas, and could address any other matters allowed by State law and deemed advisable by TxDOT. The RFP will include a statement that by submitting a proposal, each proposer consents to the sharing of its proposal details with the successful proposer. TxDOT would have the right to proceed with negotiations with the next highest rated proposer if negotiations with the apparent best value proposer fail. TxDOT may reject any and all proposals at any time.

FHWA will have the opportunity to observe and/or participate in the evaluation, selection and negotiation processes. The request for FHWA's concurrence in the award of the CDA will be accompanied by a timetable showing the major steps in the procurement process, a summary of the rationale for the selection, and a description of any material changes made to the CDA terms during the negotiations. Following receipt of FHWA concurrence, the CDA would be awarded, executed and delivered in accordance with the RFP. TxDOT anticipates issuing a notice to proceed concurrently with execution of the CDA.

2. Relevant RFP Terms

The RFP provides that prior to execution of the CDA, the ATCs from unsuccessful proposers may, in TxDOT's sole discretion, be presented to the selected Developer for possible incorporation in the CDA during the negotiation process described in the RFP. The developer will be responsible for implementing any such ATC's, including obtaining any required third party approval. The CDA provides that if the developer does not obtain such approval, then the developer must comply with the CDA requirements that would have been applicable but for the ATC, without any increase in the price or extension of time for completion.

As with other federal-aid contracts, any major revisions to the CDA will be subject to a determination that the document is satisfactory for further processing or approval (as appropriate) by FHWA. The terms and conditions of the CDA (i) will be subject to review and concurrence by FHWA, (ii) will incorporate applicable federal-aid contract requirements, and (iii) will contain terms and conditions relating to performance of work as deemed appropriate by TxDOT.

3. Experimental Feature

Experimental Feature #1 - Including a statement in the RFP that, during negotiations prior to CDA execution, Alternative Technical Concepts ("ATCs") from unsuccessful proposers may be presented to the selected developer for possible incorporation into the CDA documents. TxDOT hopes to encourage innovation which will enhance Project value, and to take advantage of such innovation even if it is presented by an unsuccessful proposer.

Purpose: Innovation can reduce Project costs and improve efficiencies, bringing additional value to the Project. It may also accelerate Project delivery. Such innovation could reduce life-cycle costs, and should be implemented even if the originator is not chosen to be developer of the Project.

Deviation from FHWA Requirements: FHWA's design-build rule, at 23 CFR 636.507 and 636.513, limits post-award, pre-execution negotiations to discussion of the technical solutions presented by the successful proposer only. The rules do not contemplate the disclosure to the successful proposer of concepts submitted by unsuccessful proposers.

H. Measures; Evaluation

The DFW Connector procurement and development process, with the requested experimental feature, will be evaluated on a range of factors, including:

Guaranteed Price. An important component of the analysis will be the cost savings that result from implementing ATCs presented by proposers other than the selected proposer, instead of utilizing more traditional approaches to design and construction or limiting innovation to the ideas presented by the selected proposer.

Time Savings. TxDOT will evaluate whether any time savings is realized due to implementation of ATCs presented by proposers other than the selected proposer and will attempt to quantify the value of those time savings.

Innovation in Design and Construction. TxDOT will analyze innovative design and construction ideas and concepts incorporated into the Project, which evolve as a byproduct of the experimental feature.


TxDOT anticipates that it will file the following reports:

  • Initial Report: The initial report will be filed within 120 days after the execution of the CDA and will:
    • Identify any ATC incorporated into the Project that was not already included in the proposal of the selected proposer;
    • Identify any projected cost or time savings attributable to those ATCs;
    • Document specific aspects of any such ATC responsible for the projected cost or time savings; and
    • Discuss any major problems or issues that may have arisen in connection with the negotiation of ATCs.
  • Interim Reports: Interim reports will only be prepared if there are significant Project developments that are reasonably related to the experimental feature. Each such interim report will include a description of:
    • The progress of the development of the Project as of such date;
    • Problems encountered and how they are addressed; and
    • How the time, cost and public benefits of the Project as of the date of the report compare to initial projections.
  • Final Report: A final report will be submitted within 90 days following final acceptance of the Project. This report will:
    • Evaluate the completed Project against the same factors described in Section H above;
    • Describe lessons learned, pitfalls to avoid and suggestions for improvements on future innovative procurements;
    • Document contract complications encountered and claims made during construction of the Project due to implementation of the experimental feature;
    • Indicate and evaluate innovations in design or construction; and
    • Emphasize and focus upon the cost, quality and timeliness of delivery of the Project and how it was affected by implementation of the experimental feature.


We believe the procedures described herein will result in successful development of the Project. We look forward to working with the FHWA as the Project progresses, and to providing you and others with the benefits of our experience.

Updated: 07/31/2017
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