August 3, 2023
By Lane Kimble
A new study may help contractors and WisDOT find ways to improve Wisconsin’s Design-Build pilot program.
The Department and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) paid a team of researchers from UW-Milwaukee for the study.
Lawmakers authorized the six-year pilot program in 2019.
Currently, two projects are underway including the replacement of a box culvert with a slab span in Appleton and replacing bridges along Highway 130 in Richland County (pictured at left.)
A third project — replacing 8 miles of pavement on Highway 45 near Clintonville — was canceled.
The researchers interviewed transportation stakeholders in four states (Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, and Michigan) with similar Design Build programs and analyzed three existing Wisconsin-based projects.
Among their many recommendations, UW-Milwaukee suggested Wisconsin add more WisDOT staff that is trained on implementing design-build, offer better outreach to contractors and engineers, generate more interest in possible design-build projects, and increase the minimum cost for a project to $7 million dollars.
You can look through the entire 101-page report via THIS link. Conclusions and analysis begins on page 77.
WisDOT told WTBA it intends to work with the Association this fall on developing a group to talk through the future of the Design-Build program.