Governor Jindal gives green light to quicker road construction
Friday, June 06, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. – Gov. Bobby Jindal today signed into law a bill that should speed up some Louisiana road construction projects with an alternative “design-build” delivery system.

            “I am pleased that the legislature has recognized the efficiency of the design-build method and has authorized the Department of Transportation and Development to pursue such contracts,” Governor Jindal said. “With the adoption of this law, Louisiana can build roads faster while saving taxpayer dollars.”

            The design-build process allows the state to contract projects out to engineering and construction “teams” that will design and build a project. Usually, DOTD or its consultants design a project, and the designed project is put out to bid for construction.

            “Design-build allows the teams to make in-the-field adjustments to design and construction elements that virtually eliminate the need for change orders that the state has to pay for,” DOTD Secretary William D. Ankner, Ph.D., said. “Ultimately, Governor Jindal’s approach will save us time and money.”

            DOTD already is overseeing one design-build project – the John James Audubon Bridge that links St. Francisville and New Roads – and is planning another, the widening of Interstate 12 from four lanes to six lanes, from O’Neal Lane in Baton Rouge to Range Avenue in Livingston Parish. Each of these projects is being managed under an existing law that gives the state limited opportunities to use the design-build process. The new law will give the state more flexibility in utilizing the design-build process.

            Governor Jindal and the legislature have appropriated $100 million toward the I-12 project, and the design-build team will be given the flexibility to stretch the six-laning project as far eastward as possible.

            Although it is impossible to predict exactly how long a project will take, a federally sponsored study says design-build projects reduce the cost of construction an average of 3 percent and the time of construction by 14 percent. The means a $100 million design-build project would save $3 million, and a three-year project could be completed about five months early.