December 7th, 2011No Comments, Optimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.
Partnering between UDOT and contractors is essential when it comes to finding solutions and providing the public with a good quality transportation product.
Complex road construction projects that occur on heavily traveled routes, especially those near business districts, are often subject to construction delay due to utility conflicts or unexpected but necessary changes in plans. UDOT works hand in hand with contractors to resolve construction issues so the project objectives can be met, stakeholders can be kept informed and the public can enjoy and improved transportation system as soon as possible.
A UDOT Region Four project in Monticello provides a great road map of how to partner for solutions. The Monticello Main Street Project reconstructed a three mile section of US-191 and US-491 through the business district of Monticello, Utah. The project scope included pulverizing or excavating the old pavement; compacting and grading the road base, and installing asphalt and concrete pavements; removing and replacing three miles of storm drain; installing a highway lighting system; relocating high voltage overhead power and upgrading traffic and pedestrian signals.
“On large partnered projects like this one, the issues that arise can start out small and quickly become worse if not addressed early,” says Jim Chandler, UDOT Region Four Resident Engineer for the project. Project team members used a variety of communication and coordination strategies, common to all UDOT projects, to maintain the project scope, budget and schedule. For their efforts, project team members from UDOT and Granite Construction recently received an award for “Best Large Partnered Project” from the Utah Associated General Contractors.
Weekly team meetings – Regular meetings held at the contractor’s construction trailer allowed workers to update the rest of the team on construction processes. Participants included UDOT employees, contractor employees, sub contractors and third party stakeholders from the City of Monticello and utility companies.
Participants shared resolutions, safety concerns, and described upcoming construction impacts to the general public. The contractor reviewed all questions and concerns that were received from the general public – including road users and businesses along the corridor.
Team building – All project teams engage in formal and-or informal team building exercises. Formal team building exercises use a facilitator to forge relationships among team members and regular confidential, partnering surveys that rate communication and cooperation. Partnering surveys, with an average survey score of 19.28 out of 20, showed that the Monticello project team members valued each others’ contribution to the team.
While the project team didn’t employ formal team building, the informal team building efforts created a sense of unity and purpose among project workers. Informal team building effort included close, purposeful collaboration among the project team members. Team members even socialized after hours.
Weekly email updates – The contractor the project sent weekly email updates to team members and area businesses to provide ongoing progress reports and to describe upcoming construction processes.
Be it resolved
Construction issues were resolved through a coordinated team effort. For example, the project team struggled with soft sub-grade and unknown, unmarked and abandoned drainage features. Old features, such as culverts and hydrants needed to be moved to make way for new drainage features. The aggressive schedule left little time for problem resolution. But, cooperation among team members prevented massive schedule delay as road features were encountered, excavated and moved. The project closed without any outstanding issues left to resolve.
Effective partnering also resulted in one half million dollars of savings. The project called for emulsion-stabilized full-depth reclamation. The contractor suggested switching to cement stabilized FDR as a value engineering change to save money without slowing down the project.
UDOT Project Manager Rustin Anderson
UDOT Resident Engineer Jim Chandler
The Moab Construction Office in conjunction with the Transportation Technicians from Moab, Monticello, Blanding and Bluff
Granite Project Manager Stephen Cordts