Delaware Expands Design-Build Authority

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Delaware Expands Design-Build Authority

Andrew Ausel  |  July 24, 2015

Governor Jack Markell (D) signed into law HB 169 last week expanding design-build authority for Transportation Trust Fund projects. The bill, sponsored by Representative Edward Osienski (D) and several others, had broad public support, garnering unanimous support in both chambers on its way to passage.

In 1999, the Delaware General Assembly gave the Department of Transportation the authority to conduct a pilot program to use design-build contracting on twelve projects. “Over the past 15 years, the Department has seen this method proven effective through improved project delivery time,” said Rep. Osienski (D) in his summary of the bill.  The Indian River Inlet Bridge is a great example of why design-build deserves the backing of the Delaware General Assembly. The $150 million design-build contract, awarded in 2008, was completed with a 100-year service life in a corrosive, storm-prone environment and today serves as a federally designated hurricane evacuation route.

Passage of this bill is a significant expansion of design-build in the state of Delaware. The Transportation Trust Fund, through which design-build projects may now be funded, was expanded by $55 million in this year’s budget. Although the exact number of design-build projects to be paid for through this fund remains unclear, the expanded access will most assuredly result in an improvement from the twelve projects authorized over the past sixteen years under the old agreement.