It’s a relatively modest beginning, but the U.S. General Services Administration has completed its first construction contract funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—and it was finished ahead of schedule.

The agency announced June 6 that an asphalt repair project at the Lukeville, Ariz., Land Port of Entry, or border station, had been completed by contractor OCS Construction Services Inc. The contract value was $420,908.

The agency also announced a contract worth almost $2 million for new facilities at a border station in New York. In all, GSA is receiving $3.4 billion from the IIJA for improvements to Land Ports of Entry along the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.

OCS Construction Services, based in Riverside, Calif., is designated as a small, disadvantaged business and is certified as a U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) firm. The company started the Lukeville project on May 2 and finished the work May 27, ahead of schedule, according to GSA.

The agency also noted the project used low-embodied-carbon asphalt, following GSA’s new standards for concrete and asphalt used on its construction, modernization and paving projects nationwide. 

John Hulett, OCS Construction Services' vice president of construction, said via email that the company has been contracting with GSA through the 8(a) Business Development Program and GSA's Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity since 2015.

He added that "this project provided a great opportunity to demonstrate how the SBA/GSA partnership works to develop small businesses like OCS that can then deliver on time and on budget for the federal government."

GSA said the Lukeville facility handles about 1 million passengers and 400,000 vehicles per year. Potholes and other asphalt damage had led to lane closures.

Hulett said, "We expect to see more IIJA opportunities as the contracting process catches up with the funding."

He added, "The IIJA is a huge win for the construction industry as a whole, and federal contractors should be at the leading edge of that benefit."

He said that IIJA projects are estimated to create 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years. "This is a welcome prediction at a time when economic forecasts are trending negatively," Hulett said.

A/E Contract for New York State

GSA also announced the award of a $1.98-million, IIJA-funded A/E contract for new facilities at the Rouses Point, N.Y., Land Port of Entry on the Canadian border.

The winning firm is Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, a woman-owned small business based in New York City. 

The border station was built in the early 1930s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The project includes constructing new inspection lanes and a rail inspection platform. Besides processing vehicular and pedestrian traffic, it also is responsible for boat traffic on nearby Lake Champlain and for freight and passenger rail traffic.

The GSA program is one of the few in the sweeping $1.2-trillion infrastructure act that has a major focus on buildings.