“Project consists of a 19-foot-diameter tunnel running under First Street from Channing Street to Rhode Island Avenue, NW”

Photo by PoPville flickr user JoshBassett|PHOTOGRAPHY

From a press release:

“DC Water selects Skanska/Jay Dee Joint Venture to build First Street Tunnel, a measure to reduce localized flooding in NW DC

The DC Water Board of Directors yesterday approved the construction contract to build the First Street Tunnel, a key medium-term measure to address localized flooding in the Northeast Boundary neighborhoods including Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park. Constructing the tunnel was one of the recommendations of the Task Force on the Prevention of Flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park created by Mayor Vincent C. Gray after a series of floods last year.

Skanska/Jay Dee Joint Venture was selected based on technical score and cost proposal. The $157 million bid is for design-build, a contract type DC Water has been pioneering in recent years. Design-build allows for more contractor innovation and greater coordination with the contract owner. Design-build teams also assume a portion of the design responsibility.

This project consists of a 19-foot-diameter tunnel running under First Street from Channing Street to Rhode Island Avenue, NW. Slated for completion in 2016, the tunnel will store eight million gallons of stormwater, capturing it before it can make its way to the combined sewer system. The stormwater will be stored in the tunnel during rainstorms and pumped into the sewer system once the storms subside. This should help alleviate some of the sewer backups and overland flooding experienced in the low-lying neighborhoods; however, relief during the more severe storms will come in the final phases of the DC Water Clean Rivers Project.

Allen Y. Lew, Chairman of the DC Water Board of Directors and Co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force, commented, “This is a significant component to the medium-term relief from flooding in these neighborhoods. We specifically went with a design-build contract to increase flexibility and to save time in order to meet our Task Force timelines.”

“It is imperative that we quickly initiate the second step in our three-step infrastructure plan to mitigate localized flooding,” said DC Water General Manager and task force co-chair George S. Hawkins. “I’m confident this team will get the tunnel completed on time, while at the same time minimizing the impact of the construction on the neighborhood.”

“Skanska-Jay Dee is honored to be awarded the DC Water Clean River project’s First Street Tunnel design-build contract,” commented Gary Almeraris, Project Executive, Skanska-Jay Dee. “We are committed to making a positive impact on the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park communities and we take seriously our responsibility to deliver the finest product possible in a safe construction environment. Skanska-Jay Dee is a joint venture of two of the country’s oldest and most experienced tunneling specialist contractors, and we understand the complexities of heavy civil work in densely populated urban areas.”

More information on the Bloomingdale/LeDroit Park projects can be found at http://www.dcwater.com/workzones/bloomingdale/default.cfm”

One Comment

  • “The $157 million bid is for design-build, a contract type DC Water has been pioneering in recent years”

    What? Design-build has been around forever. It became a common contract type in the late 70’s so DCWater isn’t “pioneering” anything.

    Also, DCPS has been going the design-build route for the past 8, 9 years, since they started their capital construction program and it has worked horribly for them. DCPS has exceeded their budget thus far by a couple hundred million dollars.

    Design-build is great if the controlling stakeholders know what they want and can manage a budget, ususally for profit driven entities as design-build is typically quicker than design-bid-build.

    Design-bid-build construction dissociates the designers from the contractors’ interests, design–build does not. It is considered that the design–build procedure is poorly adapted to projects that require a complex and elaborated design for technical purposes. The builder is also the designer, it is only natural to expect that the designs will gravitate to technologies most preferable (read profitable) to the builder.

    Lastly, design-build doesn’t make use of competitive bidding. Once you select the design-builder, you are stuck with them which is a recipe for abuse on such large jobs where the difference of even a few percent in bids would save the public millions of dollars.

    Every single public design-build project in the DC region for the past I dunno…decade has suffered from pretty significant cost or time overuns. Public authorities or governments shouldn’t be in the design-build business.

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