Thanks to an executive order from New York's governor, the New York State Dept. of Transportation is using design-build on emergency reconstruction of six miles of state Route 42. The Catskills-area stretch suffered flooding during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

Restoring Route 42 for Ulster and Greene counties by February is a top priority, says NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued Executive Order 19, allowing NYSDOT to use design-build.

Halmar International and McLaren Engineering Group won the best-value contract of $14.1 million, beating out four other teams. The work includes replacement of two bridges, 150 ft and 100 ft long, respectively, between Route 23A to the north and Route 28 to the south. The team will repair the three miles between the steel-deck-girder and concrete bridges, says Chris Larsen, Halmar principal.

The team will use precast-concrete decks. “Although the precast system is 20% to 30% more costly than the traditional cast-in-place system, it will provide better quality since the bridge decks will be built indoors in a controlled environment,” Larsen says. The precast system also avoids costs for temporary heating during winter construction, he says.

Crews are working six days a week to mobilize the preliminary design phase. “The key thing is to get the steel into fabrication. We almost had the steel designed before we started fabrication,” Larsen says. “For me, it is really important that we show everyone design-build is really a good solution that benefits the DOT.”

The state is still assessing the full cost of damage from the hurricane and storm. Seven bridges and 14 highway segments were still closed as of Oct. 10, including the ones in the design-build contract.