daily, so we are doing all of our work under traffic conditions.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TREVOR WRAYTON/VDOT
To manage these issues,
VDOT brought in ATCS CH2M
Hill to act as the technical
manager and administration
arm for the project.
But the company didn’t
join the project until March
2008, five months after
active construction began.
“We had to drop people in and
try to catch up as quickly as
possible,” says John A.
DePasquale, program manager
at ATCS CH2M Hill.
Along with getting up to
speed, Mr. DePasquale’s team
was faced with an urgent need
to get designs approved so that
the more than 200 contract
packages could be put out for construction
in the 2009 calendar year. When the project
launched in December 2007, it was only 30
percent designed, with prices and scheduling based on those designs.
As the project progresses, all new
designs and the related resources,
expenses and requirements have to be
reviewed and approved by Mr. DePasquale’s
team. So ATCS CH2M Hill has to figure
out ways to expedite the approval process
while ensuring adequate review. Finding
that balance has been difficult as the project
partners struggle with the competing
needs for appropriate oversight and
“In this phase, everything hinges on
getting designs out the door so we can
keep the contractors busy,” Mr. Lester
explains. “There is a sequence and logic to
And when the sequence is lost because
contract packages haven’t been bid or
designs haven’t been approved, he has to
scramble to make sure contractors stay
busy without creating holes that will
impede progress later on.
Mr. DePasquale estimates it took the
first four to five months to set up the
organization and another six months to
fully establish processes and procedures
for design review. And although he
admits there have been kinks in the system, his team set a 15 March 2009 goal
to release 100 packages in 100 days to
get the construction process on track
The ATCS CH2M Hill team has worked
to develop a sound relationship with the
contractors, which is helping to ease the
management process. “When we came in
March, we had to feel one another out,” he
says. “But we eventually established a
respectful relationship that’s built around a
common goal—to support VDOT and deliver
the project on time.”
Mr. Lester is optimistic that by mid-year
all the designs will be out for bid so that
construction can be under way in every
area of the project simultaneously.
Mr. DePasquale is equally confident,
although he’s prepared for unforeseen
problems to arise.
“Not a week has gone by that we
haven’t gotten a request for something we
didn’t anticipate,” he says. Whether it’s
reassessing a noise analysis or conducting additional environmental reviews, Mr.
DePasquale and the rest of the team have
to be ready to respond. —Sarah Fister Gale
the toll lanes often