The unique ‘extras’ in the bid are helping construction companies stand out in today’s competitive bidding environment. For example, one contractor offered an overall traffic-management proposal in order to improve mobility on local roads throughout construction.
This is not a traditional scenario—a contractor coming to the DOT (department of transportation) with a solution for traffic congestion, but in this case it added value in today’s competitive bidding environment.
The Utah DOT, www.udot.utah.gov, Salt Lake City, Utah, began the largest road project in the state’s history last year, which is going to widen and rebuild 24 miles of I-15 in Utah County. With no other freeway system in the county and a timeframe of two years, traffic was a primary concern for the UDOT.
PRC (Provo River Constructors), a consortium of construction companies that includes Fluor, Ames Construction, Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction, and Wadsworth Brothers Construction partnered with TransCore, www.transcore.com, Hummelstown, Pa., to offer the UDOT a solution.
PRC asked TransCore to design a traffic-management system to help drivers make informed decisions during freeway construction. The travel-time application from TransCore includes a monitoring system that uses Travel Time Detectors from Sensys Networks, www.sensysnetworks.com, Berkeley, Calif., to collect anonymous vehicle data to measure actual traffic flow conditions.
The information gathered is then available in TransCore’s TransSuite software, which automatically updates roadway Trailblazer signs with the current travel information. Trailblazer signs are placed in key areas to direct motorists to take the least congested routes. The information is also available on the Utah CommuterLink Website.
The design and development of the Trailblazer project took just six months, which will allow the team to use the technology for the remainder of the I-15 construction.
According to the UDOT, the signs are unique in the fact they compare local road travel times versus freeway travel times. Other signs in Utah have only displayed freeway travel times. The UDOT plans to keep the installations in place once construction has been completed.
Traffic-management systems are not a new concept. DOTs across the country use these systems to indicate to travelers the traffic delays on freeways. However, PRC was able to foresee that traffic congestion would be a concern for the UDOT during construction and searched for a solution.
This innovative ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking was able to add value to the project. Today contractors need to be able to anticipate the needs of owners and develop solutions to foreseen challenges. The construction companies that do this will find themselves one step ahead of the competition.