Gov. Kathleen Blanco has signed a bill
into law intended to put road and bridge repairs in
on the fast track.
Approved during a recently completed
special session of the Louisiana Legislature to address issues related to
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the new law gives the state’s highway department
open-ended authority to use the so-called “design-build” concept for hurricane
The design-build contracting process
allows contractors to submit plans to design and construct each highway
project. Typically, one firm designs a highway and another builds it, with the
two tasks bid separately.
Rep. Roy Quezaire, D-Donaldsonville, said
the effort could apply to work throughout the state that was affected by
The new law, previously HB132, requires
the approval of the state’s House and Senate transportation panels before the
state’s highway department could undertake a design-build project.
law previously required the state to
solicit bids for the design of a road or bridge, wait for the bids to be
awarded, then bid out the construction part of the
project. Quezaire said making it a one-step process could speed some projects
by a year or more.
Louisiana Department of Transportation and
Development officials said that 37 states now use design-build as a way to
speed construction and save money.