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Posted on: January 4, 2023

City of Charlottesville to Utilize Newer, More Progressive Method for Bridge Replacement

dairy road bridge

January 5, 2023

City of Charlottesville to Utilize Newer, More Progressive Method for Bridge Replacement  

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – With the design for replacing the Dairy Road Bridge estimated to begin in July, the Public Works Department, the City Manager’s Office, and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) have made the decision to utilize a newer and more progressive delivery method.  

A part of project planning is selecting the best delivery method. It is most common for government entities to default to the design-bid-build approach (FHWA, 2006). The design-bid-build (DBB) method, often referred to as the “Traditional Method”, was integrated into most government agencies for accountability to either the designer or the builder. The DBB method can add time and costs to the project. It requires obtaining a contract with a designer to have the contract documents, such as drawings and specifications, and creating a separate contract with the lowest bidding contractor. The DBB method requires more time to advertise each phase separately, can contribute to conflicts between the design and the builder in the field, and less integrated communication. When time is increased for design and construction, costs increase, as well.  

The Engineering Division of Public Works in the City of Charlottesville decided to look at options for the Dairy Road Bridge replacement that would delay the time of road closures, provide costs savings, and decrease the design and construction schedule. A design-build (DB) versus DBB analysis was completed, discussions took place between PW, the City Manager’s Office, and VDOT. In doing so, they selected the DB delivery method. In this method, the designer and builder work on the same team from preliminary design to project close-out. This method allows better communication of intent and constructability right from the start. It helps when the designer is working with the people who are building the bridge. The DB method allows the contractor, or builder, to begin work earlier when they have some of the design approved and the designer can continue to finalize the design concurrently. Additionally, the selection of the DB firm is not solely based on price, or the lowest bidder. The predicted result, based on an DB v DBB Analysis; will be a cost savings, shorter construction time, less traffic delays and detours, and a quality product. 

This is the City of Charlottesville's first Design-Build project.  

“...We are hopeful that after this project is completed, we can utilize this method more to provide more efficient project delivery in the future,” said Transportation Project Manager, Jerry Allen. “With that said, not all projects will meet the need for the use of DB over DBB.” 

Construction is projected to complete December 2024.  

Media Contact
Jerry Allen
Transportation Project Manager

Public Works

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