Design innovation, regardless of Missouri state codes, is the key to a $535-million reconstruction of a 10.5-mile-long segment of Interstate 64 in St. Louis. It is the state's first design-build effort.

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A joint venture named Gateway Constructors won the $400-million design-build contract Nov. 17, says Linda Wilson, a Missouri Dept. of Transportation spokesperson. Gateway is led by Watsonville, Calif.-based Granite Construction Co. Members include Fred Weber Inc., Creve Coeur, Mo.; Millstone-Bangert Inc., St. Charles, Mo.; San Francisco-based URS Corp.; and Parsons Transportation Group, Pasadena, Calif. The team edged out a consortium of Fluor Corp., Ames Construction Inc. and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

Missouri highway specifications were not required in proposals. Standards from other state agencies were allowed to be proposed if they had previously received the approval of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials or the Federal Highway Administration.

"They could propose California bridges, Texas barrier walls, Missouri pavement and someone else's signs," Wilson says. "We wanted to provide them the flexibility to mix and match good stan- dards that maybe they had used in other states."

Dan Galvin, spokesman for Gateway and Granite, says this method is the first of its kind that he has seen. "Our designers saw something completely different and were able to give the owner much more of what they were looking for than the other team," he says. "I think that was crucial in getting the bid."

"It took the contractors a while to understand that we really wanted to know what they thought and that we weren't going to tell them every single spec they had to follow," Wilson adds. "Once they caught on to it, they said it was very successful and that they hoped that other states would follow the lead."

The Gateway proposal calls for a concrete pavement with a 45-year design life that is expected to need a single maintenance application in 25 years. This has been used in bid proposals to MoDOT before, says Dave Ahlvers, MoDOT construction and materials engineer. Non-Missouri specifications will also be used in the I-64 project, but no specific details were available, says Wilson.

Construction will start in spring 2007, though no specific date has been set. Lanes are expected to reopen on Dec. 31, 2009, with total contract completion anticipated on July 31, 2010. Liquidated damages would be $24,300 per day starting on Jan. 1, 2010. In addition to repaving, 24 bridges and 12 interchanges will be reconstructed. The project's western half will be shut down completely in 2008 for reconstruction.