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U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Praises Successful Completion of I-15 Project in Utah

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Norman Y. Mineta, Interstate Highway System

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Praises Successful Completion of I-15 Project in Utah

Federal Highway Administration
May 14, 2001

Monday, May 14, 2001
Contact: Jim Pinkelman
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 20-01

SALT LAKE CITY - Noting its opening ahead of schedule and under budget, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today said the I-15 highway reconstruction project in Salt Lake City is an excellent example of how innovative methods on interstate construction projects can save taxpayer money and provide benefits to millions of transportation users.

"On behalf of President Bush, I congratulate the state of Utah, which has transformed an old, decaying roadway into a safe, high-quality, 10-lane superhighway that is engineered to meet the needs of citizens along the Wasatch Front for the next 50 years," Mineta said. "The innovative design and contracting methods used in the I-15 project are an ideal example of how we can develop creative solutions to help finish more transportation projects earlier and at lower cost."

The I-15 design-build project includes the complete reconstruction of a 17-mile corridor from downtown Salt Lake City to Sandy, Utah. The project includes 142 new bridges, three major Interstate junctions, four general purpose lanes in each direction between 600 North and 10800 South, plus the state's first high-occupancy vehicle (carpool) lanes north-and-south bound, nine single-point urban interchanges, including a new interchange at 400 South in downtown Salt Lake City. A county-wide Advance Traffic Management System was installed, along with full-corridor lighting, improved drainage systems, landscaping and noise walls.

The project was developed using the design-build contracting method. This innovative technique enabled Utah to complete the I-15 project in a little more than four years, saving at least four years of time under traditional contracting methods and bringing the benefits of the improved highway to transportation users several years sooner. USDOT's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the design-build method for the project in 1996.

"Because of design-build contracting, Utah will complete this project in half the time it would have under conventional contracting methods," FHWA Deputy Executive Director Vince Schimmoller said. "As a result, we have saved time and money for everyone involved -- taxpayers, private industry and government at all levels. The I-15 project also is an example of a strong federal-state partnership that can be a guiding light on other major projects across the country."

Design-build, which is more common in the private sector, differs from traditional contracting in that it combines, rather than separates, responsibility for the design and the construction phases of a highway project. Since the design and construction are performed through one procurement, construction can begin before all design details are finalized.

Also, because both design and construction are performed under the same contract, claims for design errors or construction delays are greatly reduced.

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