Laboratory for Innovation

The Accelerated Bridge Program will be a laboratory for innovation. Throughout the program, MassDOT and DCR will implement and assess performance on a number of innovative methods of projects delivery.

MassDOT and DCR have already implemented a number of reforms aimed at improving project delivery. A combination of experienced project managers and bridge engineers have been brought together to provide overall program management and consistency for the ABP. In addition MassDOT continues its agency-wide streamlining initiative that has produced measurable reductions in the project delivery timelines. Some innovative techniques to be implemented through the Accelerated Bridge Program include:

Incentive/Disincentive Contracts

On select projects, the Accelerated Bridge Program team will employ incentive/disincentive contracts, which reward contractors for early completion of projects. If contractors complete projects past scheduled timelines, penalties will be imposed. The Accelerated Bridge Program team will closely monitor results on these projects to determine their effectiveness on future projects.

Design-Build Projects

The Accelerated Bridge Program team will be completing a number of projects with Design-Build. Design-Build is different from the traditional design-bid-build method in that projects are contracted to a single entity responsible for design and construction of a project. Traditionally, the design and construction aspects are separated. By allowing design and construction teams to work together, projects will be completed within shorter timelines.

The project teams will closely measure performance on these projects to determine what time savings are created and how the use of design-build can be better implemented in the future.

MassDOT presently has identified four projects that will be undertaken utilizing the design-build delivery method. These projects are; six bridges located on Interstate 495 in Lowell, The Whittier Bridge on Interstate 95 in Amesbury /Salisbury, the Fore River Bridge in Quincy/ Weymouth, and the Pleasant Street Bridge in Grafton. The Design/Build contracting process has already commenced on the Grafton and Lowell projects with construction is scheduled to begin in early 2009 on both projects.

Project Bundling

MassDOT will be bundling Accelerated Bridge Program projects to complete projects more efficiently. Project bundling involves assigning multiple similar projects along a corridor to one contractor for improvements. Design bundling assigns multiple bridge projects to one design consultant so that designs on similar projects can be produced more efficiently. Bundling of design and construction contracts completes projects more efficiently than traditional methods of contracting for each project separately, by saving procurement time and leveraging expertise and momentum.

MassDOT has already solicited bids on thirteen bundling contracts that will address repairs to several hundred substructures and bridge decks, primarily located on interstate highways and major arterials across the Commonwealth.

Accelerated Bridge Construction Techniques

Advanced project scheduling and new estimating techniques

The Accelerated Bridge Program will expand the use of electronic project scheduling tools and incorporate these tools into MassDOT's ProjectInfo System. These advanced techniques will help to better anticipate project timelines and plan projects.

Additionally, a nationally recognized consulting firm has reviewed agency internal project control procedures with regard to cost estimating and scheduling. A final report outlining a wide array of recommended improvements to the present business practices in both agencies is expected in December.

Environmental Streamlining

The Accelerated Bridge Program team is working with environmental agencies to streamline permitting processes vital to completing Accelerated Bridge Program contracts on time. To date, programmatic agreements with environmental agencies have been established to streamline the federal and state environmental process. Success in streamlining permitting will be vital to completion of the program and protection of the environment.

Innovative Construction Contracting

The Accelerated Bridge Program in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General is drafting a single set of instructions and guidelines for Design-Build contracting.

Expanded use of single-phase construction

On appropriate projects, single-phase construction will be used. On these projects, bridges will be entirely shut down for the duration of construction as opposed to keeping the bridge partially open using a multiple phased approach. Single-phase construction will both reduce the length of disruptions to traffic and commerce and save money. MassDOT has successfully used this technique in the past, saving several months on the overall construction schedule.

In the Spotlight

Active Project List [PDF - 231KB]

ABP Update
Through April 1, 2014 the MassDOT Accelerated Bridge Program has advertised 191 construction contracts with a combined construction budget valued at $2.26 Billion.
Of these 191 advertised construction contracts:
  • 152 have already, or will, repair/replace over 270 bridges throughout the Commonwealth.
  • 39 are maintenance/preservation projects which perform work to improve the safety of many additional bridges throughout the Commonwealth.
  • 187 have been awarded to a contractor.
  • 155 have been declared complete by MassDOT (or DCR) with two additional contracts terminated and the remaining scope transferred to other contracts.
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