The 2010 Top Starts list is dominated by public-sector work, as expected, with big projects in transportation, federal building rehabs and college and university campuses. Only two commercial projects made the list. Regional readers should note that one large project not on the list is Utah’s new $1-billion-plus National Cyber Security Center, because it officially broke ground early this year, not in 2010.

 Expanded Care The 356,000-sq-ft addition to The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colo., will be home to cancer care, heart and rehabilitation medicine and an advanced maternal/fetal medicine center.
Rendering: Craig Holmes
Expanded Care The 356,000-sq-ft addition to The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colo., will be home to cancer care, heart and rehabilitation medicine and an advanced maternal/fetal medicine center.

Leading the 2010 list are two big highway infrastructure projects in Utah—ongoing work on the I-15 Corridor Expansion (CORE) project and the Mountain View Corridor in Western Salt Lake County.

Ranking in the Mountain States region was compiled from numerous sources, starting with online submissions from regional construction firms and owners, and supplemented by research from McGraw-Hill's Dodge network, ENR editors and staff. The list was limited only to projects that started substantial work in calendar year 2010, and project totals were independently verified wherever possible.

I-15 CORE covers a major north-south trucking route through Utah County and is the area's main thoroughfare, with an average of 130,000 cars driving the roadway each day. The $1.1-billion project, led by Provo River Constructors—a design-build team that includes Fluor of Irving, Texas; Ames Construction Co. Inc. of Burnsville, Minn.; Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Co. and Wadsworth Bros. Construction, both of Draper, Utah—restores and expands 24 miles of I-15 from Lehi to Spanish Fork, starting approximately 20 miles south of Salt Lake City.

The job adds two additional lanes in each direction; adds, rebuilds or reconfigures 63 bridges; and reconstructs or widens 10 interchanges. The upgrades are expected to meet or exceed travel demands through the year 2030, when car trips are projected to be 240,000 a day.

Interstate Upgrades

The Mountain View Corridor is a $224-million freeway, transit and trail system that services 13 municipalities in western Salt Lake and northern Utah counties. Completion is scheduled for 2013 and will result in a roadway that extends 35 miles from I-80 in Salt Lake County to I-15 in Lehi in Utah County. The project manager, Copper Hills Constructors, is a partnership between Granite Construction of Salt Lake City, Kiewit Construction of Salt Lake City and W.W. Clyde & Co. of Springville, Utah.

Another notable highway project is the $52.5-million Dixie Drive Interchange in southern Utah, near St. George, which creates a new I-15 interchange by realigning Dixie Drive along the north side of Southgate Golf Course.

More than $400 million in work on three courthouse buildings in Denver will upgrade the city’s civic core. A long-awaited replacement for the state’s aging judicial center, the new $258-million Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, anchors the south end of Civic Center with a majestically designed complex by Denver's Fentress Architects, scheduled for completion in early 2013 by the Denver office of Mortenson Construction. Across the street, Hensel Phelps Construction is building the new $111-million History Colorado Center, which was displaced when its former home in the old judicial center was demolished.

The General Services Administration is under way with two stimulus-funded rehabilitations in Denver, at the Byron G. Rogers Federal Building downtown ($129 million) and the Cesar Chavez Memorial Building Modernization near Civic Center ($40.8 million).

Mortenson's renovation of the 18-story, 494,000-sq-ft Byron Rogers building, home to 11 federal agencies, includes structural upgrades; replacement of major building systems, including mechanical, electrical and plumbing; envelope upgrades; and an experimental HVAC system to help it qualify for a LEED Platinum certification.

The Cesar Chavez building is scheduled to undergo a complete interior makeover from Denver-based prime contractor GE Johnson Construction.

Higher education work in Utah, especially at the University of Utah, counts for more than $1.5 billion of projects under construction, with an emphasis on high-profile science and technology buildings, like the University of Utah's $66-million L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Building (Jacobsen Construction) and its $46.7-million Neuropsychiatric Institute (Okland Construction), both in Salt Lake City.

“We stretched the available dollars to get the best possible project for the public for the best value.”
— Todd Jensen, I-15 CORE deputy director, UDOT

In total, the U of U system is undergoing a $1-billion-plus building campaign (see related story). A new science building at Utah Valley University and the Center for New Media at Salt Lake Community College also made this year's list. While university work in Utah remains robust, it is likely to level off after current projects are completed, according to U of U officials.

Meanwhile, smaller campus projects in Colorado and Wyoming are under way, but the Colorado Legislature cut the state's higher education budget by nearly 8% this year, so any large future capital projects will have to find alternative funding.

McGraw-Hill Dodge economic projections for project starts in Salt Lake City are up for 2011 but show a slight decline in Denver and will be flat or slightly down in Boise, Idaho.

Top Starts In The Mountain States
Rank 2010 Project Location Project Cost Start Date/
End Date
Owner / Prime Contractor
1 I-15 Corridor Expansion Project (CORE) Utah County
$1.1 billion
Sept. 2010
Feb. 2013
UDOT Provo River Constructors
2 Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center Denver
$258 million
April 2010
Jan. 2013
Trammell Crow Co. Mortenson Construction
3 Mountain View Corridor Western Salt Lake County
$224 million
Spring 2010
Dec. 2012
UDOT Copper Hills Constructors
4 The Children’s Hospital East Tower Addition and Renovations Aurora, Colo.
$150 million
July 2010
Dec. 2010
The Children’s Hospital JV: McCarthy/GH Phipps
5 Byron G. Rogers Federal Office Building Modernization Denver
$129 million
July 2010
Spring 2013
General Services Administration Mortenson Construction
6 History Colorado Center Denver
$111 million
Spring 2010
Spring 2012
Colorado Historical Society Hensel Phelps Construction
7 University of Utah L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Building Salt Lake City
$66 million
May 2010
April 2012
State of Utah Jacobsen Construction Co. Inc.
8 NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center Cheyenne
$55 million
June 2010
Sept. 2011
University Corp. for Atmospheric Research Saunders Construction
9 University of Utah Specialty Care Center at Daybreak South Jordan, Utah
$55 million
Sept. 2010
Nov. 2011
Kennecott Land Co./Rio Tinto Layton Construction Co.
10 Dixie Drive Interchange St. George, Utah
$52.5 million
May 2010
July 2012
UDOT Washington County Constructors
11 University of Utah Hospital Neuropsychiatric Institute Salt Lake City
$46.7 million
Sept. 2010
Aug. 2011
University of Utah Hospital Okland Construction
12 Merit Medical Systems New Production Building & Parking Facility, South Jordan, Utah
$43.5 million
Oct. 2010
Dec. 2012
Merit Medical Systems Inc. Jacobsen Construction Co. Inc.
13 Metropolitan State College Student Success Building Denver
$42 million
Dec. 2010
April 2012
Metropolitan State College Saunders Construction
14 Cesar Chavez Memorial Building Modernization Denver
$40.8 million
March 2010
Sept. 2012
General Services Administration GE Johnson Construction
15 Salt Lake Community College Center for New Media Salt Lake City
$40 million
June 2010
Dec. 2011
Salt Lake Community College Big-D Construction
16 NREL’s Research Support Facility Expansion Golden, Colo.
$39 million
Dec. 2010
Oct. 2011
National Renewal Energy Laboratory Haselden Construction
17 University of Colorado Denver Health and Wellness Center Aurora, Colo.
$37.7 million
Nov. 2010
Feb. 2012
University of Colorado Saunders Construction
18 Alameda/I-25 Interchange Reconstruction Denver
$36.9 million
March 2010 Dec. 2011
CDOT Jalisco International
19 Utah Valley University Pope Science Building Addition Orem, Utah
$32.5 million
July 2010
Feb. 2012
Utah Valley University Big-D Construction
20 University of Wyoming Visual Arts Building Laramie, Wyo.
$27 million
July 2010
Oct. 2011
University of Wyoming GE Johnson Construction
21 Fort Carson Physical Fitness Center Fort Carson, Colo.
$25.9 million
June 2010
Dec. 2011
Fort Carson Creative Times Inc.
22 Colorado School of Mines Residence Hall Golden, Colo.
$22.5 million
Feb. 2010
Dec. 2012
Colorado School of Mines Saunders Construction
23 Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine, South Jordan, Utah
$21 million
March 2010
Oct. 2011
RiverPark Eleven LLC Layton Construction Co.
24 Marian K Barker Family Health Technology Building Ogden, Utah
$18 million
March 2010
May 2011
State of Utah Okland Construction
25 South Lincoln Redevelopment Phase I Denver
$16.5 million
Sept. 2010
Dec. 2011
Denver Housing Authority Milender White Construction
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