Oakley Station CSO 551 & 553 Separation Sewer Project

2015 | Water/Wastewater | National Award of Merit

Design-Build Team Summary

Challenge Design-Build Project Delivery Addressed

The owner required expedited project delivery to exploit a small window of opportunity to cost-effectively satisfy a future consent decree requirement. Although the design phase tested the project team, the most difficult challenges were encountered and overcome with innovative solutions during the construction phase. Most of the necessary permitting agencies were not set-up to release permits for design-build type projects. The project team had identified this issue early in the risk register and took steps necessary to mitigate the impact on the project schedule. Once the permits were issued and the work commenced, multiple underground conflicts were encountered such as existing foundations buried under the roads, buried large diameter water main gate valves, and active telephone ducts banks that were previously reported as abandoned by the service provider. The costs for these changes were expeditiously mitigated through teamwork and trust. Equitable schedule adjustments were made for the unusually harsh, early winter conditions experienced at the end of the project. The team’s weekly meetings, close coordination, and flexibility allowed the project to be completed on time and without impact to the critical economic development.


The City of Cincinnati, Ohio, is a vibrant and thriving community with a progressive mentality. Economic development within the City was underway to revitalize a long-abandoned and polluted industrial area. The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC) envisioned an opportunity to separate storm and sanitary flows within the drainage basin of the area being revitalized in order to remedy certain combined sewer overflow (CSO) Consent Decree requirements. MSDGC leadership had been longtime advocates for collaborative project delivery systems and actually played a vital role in lobbying the State of Ohio for recently enacted construction reform laws. MSDGC leadership commenced with internal educational programs regarding the advantages of design-build and in short order accomplished the necessary organizational culture shift. The project not only succeeded, it surpassed all expectations by every measure in terms of solution optimization, collaboration, flexibility, risk allocation/sharing, quality, delivery time, cost savings, impact to stakeholders, partnering and teamwork. MSDGC received value above and beyond the face value of the design-build contract through cost avoidance and shared incentives which resulted in significant savings for the project. The costs associated with the differing site conditions encountered were amicably absorbed before the savings that resulted from the design review process were split between the owner and the design-builder.

Design-Build Team

Client/Owner: Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati
Design-Builder: Ulliman Schutte Construction, LLC
Engineer: IBI Group
Specialty Contractor: Midwest Mole
Specialty Consultant: Brown and Caldwell
Duration of Construction: 8 months
Project Cost: $8,552,829