A bill offered in North Dakota is intended to put road and
bridge work in the state in the fast lane.
Sponsored by House Transportation Committee Chairman Robin
Weisz, R-Hurdsfield, the bill would authorize the North Dakota Department of
Transportation to use the so-called "design-build" concept for some
Through 2011, the agency would be allowed to complete up to
five road or bridge projects statewide using the concept. After that, lawmakers
would need to approve another piece of legislation.
About 40 states now use design-build in some capacity.
The design-build contracting process allows contractors to
submit plans to design and construct each project. Typically, one firm designs
a highway and another builds it, with the two tasks bid separately.
Supporters say the process is a way to speed construction
and save money, while improving accountability. Opponents say the practice
falls far short of the goals promised by its backers. They also say it creates
a huge windfall for just a handful of big construction companies.
The bill - HB1105 - is in the House Transportation