Utah Department of Transportation I-15, Case Study (Design-Build Contracting Strategy), Master's of Engineering Report

Donna Kimball

Dr. Stuart Anderson, Committee Chair


Traditionally, public agencies have been limited to competitive bids to procure construction contracts. However, public agencies are tiring of the low bid process and the resultant poor quality product that accompanies it. Many public agencies are opting to petition and challenge the procurement laws to allow use of negotiated procurements. Negotiated procurements allow quality and past history of the design-builder to be considered (sometimes heavily) when selecting a construction contractor. Although some states have adopted legislation that allows the use of innovative contracting methods, many others have not. However, more states may change in the near future and are watching closely the use of design-build (best value) contracting strategy for public highway project by Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). UDOT, with its progressive vision has embarked on the single largest design-build and performance-based project in the United States at $1.6 billion with the total reconstruction of Interstate I-15 in four and one-half years.

Because there is great potential for additional public works agencies using design-build (best-value) strategies, a need exists to document the salient features of the I-15 project. By studying this enormous project, the successes and lessons learned may be applied to the next negotiated project. In addition, if the contract continues on its successful path additional progressive legislation may be petitioned from state agencies seeking to increase the construction value for tax dollars expended. Towards this end, this report documents the pre-award and construction of Interstate I-15 reconstruction. More specifically, this case study captures the background information used to support the design-build contracting strategy decision, challenges, innovations, significant construction methods and factors contributing to the project success.