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FY 2008 Value Engineering Summary Report

Notable VE Studies and Recommendations

The following case studies provide a small sample of the responses received from across the country during the compilation of the FY 2008 Value Engineering Accomplishment Report.

Studies Yielding Significant Cost Savings:

The Montana DOT conducted a VE Study on the Harlowtown North project, which consists of 6.5 miles of reconstruction at an estimated cost of $19 million. The VE Team utilized the classic value engineering process to develop 4 recommendations, including one proposing a different alignment to reduce grading along with modifications to the designed roadway slopes, and another recommendation which changed approximately half of the project from the originally planned reconstruction to also include rehabilitation. All the recommendations were accepted and implemented into the project design, resulting in a 33%cost savings.

The Fresh Kills Park Roadways project in Staten Island, New York, included the construction of a park to be built over a closed landfill. The VE team recommended the use of recycled material and landfill closure stockpiles for roadways in lieu of outside embankment material. Although this recommendation appears to be a simple idea to reduce the quantity of project fill, the New York State DOT estimates that the recommendation will save $43.5 million, or over 10% of the total project cost.

Studies Saving Construction Time:

In 2008, the Maine DOT completed a VE study for the rehabilitation of 4 miles and the reconstruction of 18 miles of Interstate 295. A multidisciplinary team performed the study using various project review software, including the FHWA's "RealCost" program. One of the recommendations called for shutting down and reconstructing the entire section of the Interstate in a 10 to 12 week time period, compared to the original plan to construct the project in phases over 2 to 3 construction seasons with a 4 inch overlay. The VE study also reviewed the life cycle cost of the pavement selection and recommended rubblizing and placing an 8 inch overlay. The value of the recommendations saved approximately $2.1 million.

Studies with Specific Focus:

The Interstate 15 Washington to Cottonwood Creek project in Utah was a fairly straight forward re-paving project. Because the pavement design had gone through a number of iterations, it was determined that it should not be the primary focus of the VE study as most high dollar items typically are. Because the project estimate met the threshold for requiring a study, the Utah DOT's VE team focused their attention instead on other project functions including Maintenance of Traffic. With this focus defined beforehand, efforts in the creativity phase were much more relevant to the needs of the project and the study was considered more successful.

The Caltrans' VE study for the State Route 89 - Union Pacific Railroad Separation/widening project focused the analysis on construction methods to minimize disturbance to the railroad. The study proposed the "top-down" construction method and recommended building a structure to support existing railroad tracks on existing ground in stages, thereby causing only minimal railroad delays. The study further recommended after the structure was constructed, the existing ground under structure was to be excavated and the existing tunnel removed before the widening of State Route 89. Caltrans reported that the implementation of these recommendations saved nearly 25% of project cost, increased project performance by 10%, and reduced both construction time and environmental impact.

Studies Employing Technical Experts:

The State Highway 100 / US Highway 45 Project in Milwaukee, WI, included three closely spaced urban signalized intersections in a triangular configuration where three roadways cross. One of the Wisconsin DOT's VE team members was a traffic engineer with experience in traffic modeling who developed a model of the location ahead of time, and during the study, was able to analyze 9 intersection alternatives and report on the operational characteristics of each. This allowed a more detailed analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, which greatly added to the success of this VE study.

The New York State DOT also cited the use of independent specialists from outside the transportation department as a best practice. The VE study on the Manhattan Bridge Cable Rewrapping and Suspender Replacement brought together world-class bridge experts to examine the function of the project. For this project, estimated to cost $155 million, nearly half of the 32 recommendations generated were accepted, resulting in an estimated savings of $10 million. Accepted items allowed the bridge suspender removal to be simplified, and reduced the risk of corrosion due to water infiltration as well as risks associated with constructing in a high traffic site. The use of independent specialists from outside the Department allowed the VE Team to examine the project not from the standpoint of the specific project, but from the standpoint of industry-wide best practices.

Updated: 07/24/2017
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