March 2014

Western New York will be seeing its first design-build project get under way with the $41.1 million rehabilitation of the three bridges carrying I-190 and NY Route 265 (Military Road) over the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Reservoir in the towns of Niagara and Lewiston.

Gov. Cuomo passed the Empire State’s first design-build law in 2011 in an effort to streamline and speed up construction as well as reduce costs. According to NYSDOT, without design-build, these three bridge projects would not have begun for another two years. Cuomo is looking to extend the design-build law, which expires at the end of this year.

The design-build process allows for the combining of design and construction services into single contracts to help expedite repair work to vital infrastructure to save taxpayer money, says the DOT. Design-build contractors submit proposals to design and build the bridge at the same time. This usually results in a design consultant teaming up with a construction contractor to jointly deliver the project.

According to the Design Build Institute of America, as of 2013, there were 16 states (New York among these) that allowed for design-build for transportation procurement on a limited basis. Alternatively, 28 states have design-build as fully authorized and in six states, design-build is specially authorized.

There are some drawbacks to design-build, such as the architect’s vision for the project could appear to favor the contractor, and not the state, and if the project is not scheduled properly, it could delay it substantially, something design-build in essence is supposed to mitigate. A good source of design-build information can be found here:

And one last thing: congratulations to Erin Hamlin of the town of Remsen, who took bronze in the women’s singles luge in Sochi, the first medal ever for the United States in the event. We profiled the town of Remsen and its Superintendent of Highways George Worden in June 2008.

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.