An innovative, Texas-style highway contract will be put to the test as construction starts this month on the $1.02-billion DFW Connector project. It is designed to relieve congestion and double traffic capacity near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The design-build contract for the job, a so-called Comprehensive Development Agreement, or CDA, was awarded by the Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) on Oct. 6, 2009 to NorthGate Constructors, a joint-venture consortium led by Kiewit Texas Construction, Fort Worth, and Zachry Construction, San Antonio. Under the CDA, the consortium will simultaneously design and build the new expressway complex starting on Feb. 15.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.