PORTSMOUTH, Va.—In mid-December, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) opened the first design-build roadway project in the state. The transportation infrastructure improvements provide access to a new container terminal that will double the shipping capacity of the Hampton Roads port.

APM Terminals (APMT), one of the world’s largest container port operators, is expanding its presence along the Elizabeth River and building the largest privately developed marine container terminal in the United States. The new facility is slated to open in 2007; to meet APMT’s construction phasing, the surrounding roadways needed to be completed by the end of 2006.

"Shipping, especially container shipping, is a primary industry for the state," said Thomas Pelnik, director of innovative project delivery for VDOT. "We chose to go the design-build project delivery route since the traditional design-bid-build method, with its separate design process and construction bidding phase, could have added two years to the schedule."

VDOT selected a Tidewater Skanska-led team that included engineering firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB), as its designer. The design-build team completed the project, with a fixed budget of $22 million, ahead of schedule despite significant right-of-way and permitting challenges, which were coordinated in tandem with project design and construction.

"The resulting time savings from this design-build contract meant lower costs for the Commonwealth of Virginia and earlier utilization of APMT’s marine container terminal," said Greg Lassiter, director of design-build delivery for VHB. "This project is a model of what the design-build method should be all about."

Construction of the new interchange involved raising Route 164, a four-lane limited-access highway, 25 feet to accommodate an overpass over the new APM Terminals Boulevard. Careful construction phasing enabled all four lanes of highway traffic to be maintained throughout the project. Other improvements included 2.1 miles of new roadway; relocation of 2,800 feet of roadway, drainage, and utility segments; pavement design to accommodate significant loads; and wetland/waterway impact mitigation.