By using either design-bid-build or construction management at-risk for the Orange Line, which DART used for construction of its Green Line, "the project would be finishing later than we wanted," McKay says.

Bumpy Road

DART faced the challenge of coordinating with the Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) to synchronize construction of a portion of the Orange Line where it passes beneath agency projects on State Hwy. 114 and Loop 12.

In sequencing those projects, TxDOT "was going to provide a window for us to put tracks and stations through, so all construction could be done at the same time and cause less disruption to the traveling public," McKay says.

As it turned out, about midway through the DART construction, TxDOT's projects suffered a delay due to issues with environmental compliance, utility relocation and the right-of-way process. That contributed to a re-sequencing of work that didn't allow for coordination with DART's project, McKay says.

More importantly to DART, there was a dispute related to the elevation at which the Orange Line project was to tie in with TxDOT's work. DART asserted that, because the construction team had member firms involved in some of the transportation agency projects, the team should have foreseen the disparity. The joint venture and DART appealed to a non-binding dispute resolution board, which sided with the construction team in the matter.

The issues were resolved when McKay brought the matter before a project stakeholders group. "We solved it in a manner that everybody was equally happy," McKay says. "We were able to get the cloud off of the project and work it out with discussions, re-sequencing and re-scheduling. Our team and our contractor/design-builder really focused on how to make the most of it and mitigate it."

Initially, the project schedule was delayed by 22 months, but the joint venture was able to reduce that delay to eight months and ultimately sped up productivity enough to bring the first phase in early.

"Design-build isn't new to our team," says Steve Medina, Kiewit's officer-in-charge. "Through that procurement process, we were able to come up with numerous innovations that saved time and money."

The joint venture devised "simple tweaks to the alignment where we didn't have to purchase or relocate new facilities," McKay says. The team devised nine innovations that were "big-ticket items," Medina says, saving DART an estimated $18 million to $19 million.