CH2M HILL Celebrates Project Success On I-15 In Las Vegas

North Corridor Constructors, a joint venture between CH2M HILL and Las Vegas Paving Corporation, celebrated the early the completion of a $242-million widening of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada. All lanes and ramps of the I-15 North Corridor Design Build Project were opened to traffic on Christmas Eve 2009, a full 7.5 months ahead of schedule.

A  January 20th, NASCAR themed grand opening ceremony celebrated the early completion of the I-15 reconstruction. At the ceremony, Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons waved a checkered flag as race cars bearing project officials and local dignitaries “raced to the finish line” down the newly expanded stretch of roadway, while other attendees were treated to refreshments and a black jack table dealing commemorative poker chips. It was an event befitting the project’s Las Vegas location.

The project, the first design-build contract for the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), widened a 5.8-mile section of I-15 from the US 95 Interchange north to Craig Road, north of downtown Las Vegas. The scope of work included road widening and additional auxiliary lanes, 14 bridges and widening two bridge, 17 miles of concrete barrier rail, 225,000 square feet of retaining walls, 406,000 tons of new asphalt pavement, 2 miles of 12-foot average height post and panel sound walls, 29,126 linear feet of storm drain system, high mast lighting, and an Intelligent Transportation System, signals and surface street improvements.

“The early completion was the result of the design-build delivery method chosen by NDOT and the innovations that this delivery method allows,” said Joseph Schroeder, the project manager for CH2M HILL and North Corridor Constructors.

Unlike the more traditional design-bid-build delivery method, design-build provides for constructor input into the design process, allows construction to begin prior to 100 percent design completion, and results in higher quality and faster delivery at lower cost, equaling best value for the customer.

“We came into the project with an aggressive target delivery date and were able to shorten the project duration further through the excellent relationship that existed between NDOT and North Corridor Constructors, and an openness and a willingness to innovate,” Schroeder said.” The design was completed in the first 17 months with an overlapping 22-month construction duration, for a total project duration of just 28 months.”

“In addition to an early completion,” Schroeder added, “North Corridor Constructors is especially proud of the outstanding safety record maintained by the project team.” More than 1.2 million man-hours were worked on the project with zero lost time injuries. This notable achievement resulted in North Corridor Constructors being recognized by the Nevada Contractors Association as the “Safest Contractor of the Year” for 2009, the Association’s highest and most coveted honor.

The safety record, vital roadway improvements, and early completion are a welcome relief for Las Vegas motorists. The stretch of the widened portion of I-15 provides a safer, more efficient transportation corridor for the estimated 175,000 vehicles that pass through the area every day. The early completion and overall success of the project reinforces NDOT’s advocacy of design-build, and has encouraged the agency to use design-build as a delivery method for future roadway construction projects.

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