A $429-million highway job in Ohio to bypass the southern city of Portsmouth and speed driving time between Cincinnati and Columbus by late 2018 is the state’s largest road project and its first as a public-private partnership. Although the P3 approach is expediting completion of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway/State Route 823 project, participants say, construction quality assurance requirements are far from easy.
The Dragados-led project team decided that no off-the-shelf software could handle the project data and reporting requirements of the Ohio Dept. of Transportation. It hired quality oversight consultant CH2M to custom-develop the Construction Quality Records System (CQRS), a tool for use with CH2M’s existing CH2Mobile data collection system to document and track how observed work conforms to contract requirements, says Bryan Parsell, the firm’s construction services project manager.
“It is difficult to claim something is nonconforming unless you can … provide objective evidence,” Parsell says. CQRS is built on base maps from GIS software vendor Esri.
When nonconforming work is identified, the tool logs and tracks the issue. Personnel can use mobile devices to collect data, including marked-up photos tagged to stations and offsets. Submitted information is saved to the cloud and a secure CH2M server in Denver. The mobile data collection system works online or offline, but connectivity is assured by the project’s 16-mile-long, solar-powered WiFi network.
The information is shared via a browser from CH2M servers. When the database is updated, any impacted mobile form lookup lists are pushed out to inspectors’ devices. Form submissions have associated geolocations, so data can be displayed on a map. The project’s more than 900 assets have associated GIS shapefiles, which lets their status be displayed on color-coded maps. “Since all collected data has been associated to a GIS shape, you can graphically display the results, which is pretty cool,” Parsell says.
The team’s quality control group must provide evidence that 100% of the work is conforming. The system is expected to support the P3 through its 35-year maintenance obligation.
David Yardy, a CH2M software architect who helped develop CQRS, says CH2Mobile is used on 30 other CH2M projects, and tools similar to CQRS can be built for it to be used for many kinds of data tracking.