Charlottesville to alter process for replacing Dairy Road Bridge

The two-lane bridge that carries vehicles on Dairy Road over the U.S. 250 bypass was built in 1954 according to a database maintained by the Federal Highway Administration. Planning for a replacement has been in the works for many years and the official estimate for the project is $7.211 million according to the Virginia Department of Transportation

Yesterday the city announced it will take a new step to try to keep the bids below that estimate. They will pursue the work as a “Design-Build” project as opposed to the “Design-Build-Bid” process that has been used for decades.

“In this method, the designer and builder work on the same team from preliminary design to project close-out,” reads a press release that went out yesterday. “This method allows better communication of intent and constructability right from the start.” 

The design-build also eliminates a step in the procurement process and can shave months off a project’s completion. This also allows the city to choose a contractor without being restricted to the lowest price. 

“We are hopeful that after this project is completed, we can utilize this method more to provide more efficient project delivery in the future,” said Transportation Project Manager, Jerry Allen. “With that said, not all projects will meet the need for the use of DB over DBB.” 

This will be the first design-build project in Charlottesville.

The Virginia Department of Transportation used this method in 2015 to move the Route29 Solutions projects forward. That included the grade-separated intersection at U.S. 29 and Rio Road, the widening of U.S. 29 from Polo Grounds Road to Hollymead Town Center, and the construction of Berkmar Drive extended. 

The release states the goal is to have completion of the replacement bridge by December 2024. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the January 6, 2023. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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