to $70-75 million, so it was crucial that NCTA connect area DBE firms with prime contractors. So, we hosted a formal pre-bid information session for contractors and designers, followed immediately by a DBE forum to facilitate the connections. The NCTA team also sponsored multiple public hearings and forums for the community – with hundreds in attendance – where we pre- sented virtual fly-throughs, looped informational videos and a formal presentation, staffed with dozens of project personnel to answer ques- tions. Residents could even print maps of the corridor relative to their properties at the events. Remarkably, there have been few complaints during the land acquisition process, with much of the credit going to Dennis Jernigan, NCTA’s Director of Highway Operations, who met frequently with property owners to hear and address their concerns.
Design-Build Lends Itself to the End Game Ultimately, NCTA plans for all three of the adjacent Phase 1 design- build sections to be completed and opened simultaneously in 2023. To that aim, we awarded the design-build contract with the longest duration first, then staggered the remaining two at later intervals. Design-build is critical to our meeting that goal, as it provides flex- ibility, speed, and an unparalleled level of collaboration. It has also been conducive to innovation, as NCTA allows its bidders to propose alternative technical concepts (ATCs) in their proposals. Throughout procurement, there were nearly 90 ATCs proposed during Phase 1, with about a quarter of them approved. Although time consuming and labor intensive, the ATC process pays huge dividends in the long run and provides contractors with infinite room for innovation.
RODGER ROCHELLE is Chief Engineer at North Carolina Turnpike Authority.
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