The $2.46 billion Oregon Transportation Investment Act of 2003 provides $1.3 billion to repair or replace hundreds of aging state-owned bridges in Oregon. This portion of the act is known as the OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program. To deliver the program, ODOT hired Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners, a newly formed Oregon company. The private-sector program management firm a joint venture between HDR Engineering and Fluor Enterprises operates as an extension of ODOT, with oversight from the agency’s OTIA III Bridge Delivery Unit.
To deliver the bridge program in-house, ODOT would have had to fill approximately 600 new positions. Instead, the Oregon Legislature directed the agency to outsource the work, stimulating the state’s economy by creating and sustaining additional jobs for Oregonians. As a result, just 22 Bridge Delivery Unit staff members oversee OBDP’s management and delivery of the program. Although ODOT has outsourced work on projects before, this is the first time the agency has turned a program of this magnitude over to the private sector to manage.
An innovative and distinguishing feature of the state bridge program is a philosophy known as Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions, or CS3. The CS3 approach recognizes that the program is much more than repairing or replacing bridges. It is an opportunity to provide a comprehensive transportation solution that reflects Oregon’s values and responds to the issues that are important to Oregonians: economic prosperity and the safety and reliability of the state highway system.
To achieve this, five interrelated program objectives are merged under the CS3 umbrella: mobility, economic stimulus, diversity, environmental stewardship and public involvement.
Through CS3 and ODOT’s new way of delivering the work, the Oregon Transportation Investment Act is leaving a lasting legacy of enhancing quality of life for all Oregonians
Mobility: Traffic-management plans minimize disruptions at the program, corridor and project levels. The bridge program is ensuring the safety and reliability of the highway system for travelers and freight-haulers.
Economic Stimulus: The bridge program is estimated to sustain an annual average of 5,000 jobs over the life of the program. OBDP is grouping bridge projects into "bundles" of varied sizes so that Oregon’s design and construction firms can successfully bid on them. In addition to providing economic stimulus, bundling the projects speeds construction time, produces economies of scale and enhances mobility on freight and commerce routes.
Diversity: The bridge program offers a unique opportunity to strengthen Oregon’s economy by building diversity in Oregon’s workforce and contractor community. ODOT is promoting strategies that maximize the participation of women, minorities and emerging small businesses. The goal is to build a sustainable, diverse workforce that will continue beyond the bridge program. To achieve these goals, ODOT has partnered with other agencies and organizations to create Regional Workforce Alliances. The Alliances, located throughout the state, are recruiting and training employees for careers in highway construction-related fields. In addition, ODOT has launched a Small Business Initiative to work on reducing the barriers that women-, minority-owned and small businesses often face in doing business in the transportation industry.
Environmental Stewardship: With foresight and considerable effort, ODOT collaborated with numerous regulatory agencies to streamline the permitting process. Environmental performance standards have been set for the bridge program as a whole, instead of permitting each bridge individually. This early collaboration saved approximately 30 percent on initial design costs and shaved one to two years off of the construction schedule. In addition, many of the replacement bridges enhance environmental conditions and wildlife habitat, and ODOT has already been recognized for its initiative in preserving and enhancing the environment.
Public Involvement: All stakeholders are actively engaged to ensure that the bridges meet community needs and are a good fit for the environment. Workshops and open houses gather ideas from groups and individuals, and these ideas are considered during project design and construction.