Best of the Best Highway/Bridge: North Tarrant Express
Tarrant County, Texas
Region Texas & Louisiana
Owner NTE Mobility Partners
Lead Design Firm/General Contractor Bluebonnet Contractors, a joint venture of Ferrovial Agroman US and Webber
Design Consultant AECOM Technical Services Inc. and Othon Inc.
The $2.1-billion North Tarrant Express is an expansive reconstruction project that stretches across a 13-mile, east-west highway corridor in Tarrant County, Texas.
Bluebonnet Contractors, a joint venture between Ferrovial Agroman US and Webber, led design and construction on the job, which rebuilt Interstate 820 and state Highways 121 and 183 and included the demolition and rebuilding of 18 bridges and 52 off-ramps and on-ramps, along with new continuous frontage roads, rebuilt main lanes and the addition of four tolled, managed lanes.
Project developer North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners represents a consortium of companies, including Cintra US, Meridiam Infrastructure and the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, the first pension fund in the country to invest in the building and maintenance of a major toll-road project.
To complete the project on time, the team developed an aggressive construction schedule that allowed for minimal impacts on drivers, businesses and workers.
The team completed NTE nine months ahead of schedule. Further, for North Texas, this roadway marks the first time that a project funded by a public-private partnership reached completion.
Teams clocked a total of 9.1 million man-hours with no life-threatening injuries or fatalities, an OSHA recordable incident rate of 0.8 and a lost-time accident rate of 0.2.
A customized safety program helped to meet the challenge of coordinating multiple subcontractors performing work in the same areas. Also, more than 200,000 cars travel the corridor daily—an inherent hazard for any highway project.
Both before and during construction, the team acquired rights-of-way for 400 separate parcels and addressed 475 conflicts involving more than 1 million linear ft of utilities. Rights-of-way acquisition eliminated the ability to perform work in sequence, as well. The design-build process enabled the team to make design modifications and adjust phasing as needed, without compromising the schedule.
Speaking about the teams on the NTE job, one judge commented that they used a lot of “smart things” across the project, such as the lowering of the expressways to minimize cost.