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OTIA III State Bridge Delivery
Agency Collaboration
The OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program represents a major step forward for interagency collaboration. Because of the size and complexity of the program, ODOT realized early on that consistent, on-going interagency coordination was essential to delivering the program in a timely manner. In response, ODOT gathered nearly a dozen public agencies to work proactively to develop an environmental strategy and environmental protection measures for the entire OTIA III program.
 
Developing environmental protection measures for major public works projects has historically been difficult and contentious at times, as designers attempt to satisfy conflicting regulatory requirements. Furthermore, the traditional model has been to "design and defend." Designers would submit almost completed designs for regulatory review and approval. As a result, required changes could require extensive redesign, followed by additional regulatory reviews. This approach increases design times and costs and can foster bridge designs that fail to provide optimal resource protection.
 
In contrast, the bridge program included extensive, up-front collaboration between ODOT and its environmental agency partners. Together, they worked to negotiate environmental performance standards before bridges were designed. ODOT met with its environmental partners for almost one year to identify environmental concerns and to develop measures for preventing unacceptable impacts to natural resources. The result was a single set of environmental performance standards for bridge engineers and construction contractors to follow as they move forward with bridge designs. Over the life of the bridge program, this approach is expected to result in significant time and cost savings and to enhance ODOT's commitment to environmental stewardship. In addition, this approach is expected to set the standard for future regulatory collaboration.
 
ODOT has collaborated with many other governmental entities in creating the environmental approach for the OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program. ODOT's key partners in this program are:
Federal Highway Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Fisheries)
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Oregon Department of State Lands
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service