Illinois Tollway awards $337 million in contracts, sets budget

Online Staff Report

DOWNERS GROVE, Illinois — The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors Dec. 18 approved five new construction contracts totaling nearly $286 million and nine new engineering contracts totaling $51 million for projects, including $320 million for the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) Rebuilding and Widening Project.

Approval of the December contracts marks completion of the third year of the Tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, “Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.” Nearly $1.3 billion in construction and engineering contracts have been approved by the Tollway Board in 2014, for a total of $3.05 billion since the Move Illinois Program began in 2012. In addition, the capital program has created or sustained an estimated 20,760 total jobs as of November 2014.

The Illinois Tollway has made significant investments in our regional transportation system in 2014,” said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D). “In addition to providing jobs for hardworking men and women in the construction trades, the Tollway’s improvements are bolstering economic development opportunities from Rockford to South Holland.”

Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur added: “The contracts approved by the Tollway Board today help prepare us for 2015, which will bring the biggest single-year investment in construction and infrastructure improvements in our agency’s history. The I-90 Rebuilding and Widening Project between Chicago and Elgin coupled with continuing work on the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project and other system-wide improvements will provide opportunities for firms of all types and sizes to work with the Tollway.”

In all, the Tollway awarded 95 contracts to 61 unique construction and engineering firms in 2014. These firms worked on projects including completion of the first phase of the Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 Interchange Project, delivering 37 miles of rebuilt and widened roadway on I-90 between Elgin and Rockford and making significant progress on the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project.

The December contracts include three prime consultants, 28 subconsultants and 18 subcontractors that are certified as disadvantaged, minority- and women-owned business enterprises (D/M/WBE). Commitments for D/M/WBE participation range from 18 to 100 percent per contract. In addition, seven of the new engineering contracts approved today include veterans participation goals. Of the more than $337 million in awarded contracts, nearly $72 million, or 21 percent, is committed to veteran-owned, small or disadvantaged firms.

Construction contracts awarded include the following:

$149 million in combination bid contracts to Plote Construction Inc./Dunnet Bay Construction Co. joint venture, Hoffman Estates, IL, for the I-90 Rebuilding and Widening Project.

A $77.9 million contract for roadway and bridge reconstruction between Higgins Road and Roselle Road.

A $71.1 million contract for roadway and bridge reconstruction between Roselle Road and Illinois Route 53.

$136.3 million in combination bid contracts to Walsh Construction Co. of Illinois/K-Five Construction Corp. joint venture, Chicago, IL, for the I-90 Rebuilding and Widening Project.

A $74 million contract for roadway and bridge reconstruction between Illinois Route 53 and Arlington Heights Road.

A $62.3 million contract for roadway and bridge reconstruction between Arlington Heights Road and Oakton Street.

A $619,476 contract to Lorig Construction Co., Des Plaines, IL, for bearing and joint fabrication on Illinois Route 390 between the Metra Railroad and Irving Park Road for the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project.

Engineering contracts awarded include the following:

$34.1 million for construction management services for work on the I-90 Rebuilding and Widening Project.

A $9.0 million contract to Alfred Benesch & Co., Chicago, IL, between Illinois Route 53 and Arlington Heights Road.

A $9.5 million contract to BCP Tollway Partners JV, Chicago, IL, between West of Higgins Road to Roselle Road.

A $10.1 million contract to Knight E/A Inc., Chicago, IL, between Illinois Route 25 and Higgins Road.

A $5.5 million contract to STV Inc., Chicago, IL, between the Elgin Toll Plaza and the Fox River.

$13.8 million for construction management services for roadway resurfacing on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88).

A $4.7 million contract to Michael Baker Jr. Inc., Chicago, IL, between U.S. Route 30 and U.S. Route 52.

A $4.7 million contract to HR Green Inc., Yorkville, IL, between U.S. Route 52 and Midway Road.

A $4.4 million contract to DB Sterlin Consultants Inc., Chicago, IL, between Midway Road and Illinois Route 251.

A $3 million contract to Great Arc Technologies Inc., Chicago, IL, for implementation of GIS Infrastructure Management System.

A $630,880 contract to Structure Designs Inc., Chicago, IL, for design services for maintenance facilities on I-90.

Construction and utility contracts for Illinois Tollway projects are competitively bid under the rules of the Illinois Procurement Code. As part of the process, contractors’ bid submissions for construction work advertised by the Tollway are opened and read aloud during public bid opening meetings, which are also broadcast live on the Tollway’s website. Following an agency review process, the lowest, responsible and responsive bid is presented to the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors for review and approval.

The Illinois Tollway provides detailed information about current Tollway construction contracts through the Construction Contract Tracker on the Tollway’s website at www.illinoistollway.com. Contractors and consultants can also access resources online to help them learn about how to do business with the Tollway, including construction bid-letting schedules, professional service bulletins, manuals and construction bid calendars. These resources can be found in the “Doing Business” section of the Tollway’s website.

Illinois Tollway engineering contracts are awarded through the qualifications-based selection process (Illinois Public Act 87-673 (30 ILCS 535/1-535/80) Architectural, Engineering and Land Surveying Qualifications-Based Selection Act), which requires state agencies to select professional architects, engineers and surveyors on the basis of demonstrated competence and professional qualifications, rather than low bid. Staff from the Department of Engineering checks statements of interest to ensure that specified pre-qualifications and documentation are met and then reviews and scores statements of interest based on the selection criteria outlined for each project. Executives from the Department of Engineering then review the scoring, as well as each firm’s capacity, and identify the top recommended firms per project. To complete the review, a committee of Tollway professionals and independent engineering officials considers the top recommended firms and finalizes the top three firms in ranked order. The Tollway then seeks to negotiate a final contract price with the top-ranked firm.

Illinois Tollway approves 2015 budget

Also Dec. 18, the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors approved a balanced 2015 budget providing a spending plan for next year that covers $311 million for maintenance and operations on the 286-mile system, as well as $1.63 billion in capital projects, including the fourth year of the agency’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, “Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.”

This budget demonstrates our commitment to enhancing customer service and delivering infrastructure improvements our drivers expect,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “Our goal is to deliver the largest capital program in the agency’s history while also supporting thousands of jobs and stimulating the local and regional economies.”

To fund the 2015 budget, revenues are projected to increase from $1.02 billion budgeted in 2014 to $1.17 billion in 2015, primarily due to a truck toll rate increase previously approved by the Tollway Board in 2008. Of the $1.17 billion in estimated revenues, $1.16 billion is from tolls and evasion recovery, $1 million is from investment income and $9 million is from concessions and miscellaneous revenue. The Tollway also plans to issue as much as $800 million in new bonds in 2015 to provide funding for new and future capital investments.

More than 70 percent of revenue will go to support infrastructure, with $497 million for renewal, replacement and improvement and $362 million for debt service on Tollway bonds. In addition, the 2015 budget allocates $311 million for maintenance and operations — just $11.6 million over the revised 2014 budget.

Operating costs will increase 3.9 percent, consistent with the long-term financial plan outlined for the Move Illinois Program. Key drivers for 2015 operating budget increases include: rising personnel costs for health care and retirement contributions, insurance due to growing workers’ compensation expenses, increased costs for fuel, as well as fees for maintenance of a growing fiber-optic network and intelligent transportation system technologies and for credit card company fees associated with higher toll revenue.

The 2015 budget provides $1.56 billion in funding for capital infrastructure projects, including $839.6 million to continue rebuilding and widening the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) as a state-of-the-art 21st century corridor, $319.8 million to continue building the new, all-electronic Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project, $107.9 million to resurface the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) from Illinois Route 251 to U.S. Route 30, $19 million to begin design for bridge reconstruction on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) and $6.1 million funding planning studies for the Illinois Route 53/120 Project and other emerging projects. Also in 2015, $241.1 million has been budgeted for systemwide roadway, interchange and bridge repairs and other work to address the needs of the existing Tollway system.

In addition, the 2015 Budget provides $17 million for state-of-the-art cameras to help ensure accuracy of toll violations, $12.3 million to support the development of an enterprise resource planning system, $2.5 million to implement new color over-the-road dynamic message signs, $1 million for website improvements, $1.2 million to support the agency’s workforce development and technical assistance programs, $900,000 to retrofit lighting at toll plazas, parking lots and other facilities to reduce electrical consumption and $392,000 for additional Illinois State Police construction work zone enforcement details.

The Tollway Board supports this sound financial plan that will allow the agency to deliver the fourth year of our ambitious and aggressive Move Illinois Program,” said Illinois Tollway Board Chairman Paula Wolff. “Our priorities are to make travel safer and congestion free.”

The Tollway has continued to find new management efficiencies in an effort to control or reduce other operating expenses. The 2015 Budget includes budget efficiencies that will save the Tollway more than $1.2 million, including $600,000 in savings from the agency’s effort to rebid collection agency fees and $520,000 in cost savings as a result of transitioning to a more efficient back office system and reduced maintenance on the existing system. The efficiencies are in addition to the $16 million of recurring savings in the last five annual budgets. In all, the Tollway has implemented more than $64 million in one-time or multi-year savings since 2010. Further, the agency will maintain its current budgeted headcount while taking on the largest capital program in the agency’s history, including the biggest single-year investment in construction and infrastructure improvements. At the direction of the Board of Directors, the agency’s budgeted headcount remains flat at 1,595 employees for the third consecutive year and less than 1,600 employees for the past five years.

In keeping with the Tollway’s commitment to increasing transparency and accountability to the public, the 2015 budget is posted on the Illinois Tollway website www.illinoistollway.com for public review. The Tollway offered a number of opportunities over the past two months for public participation in the annual budget process, including an open house event at the Lake Forest Oasis and a budget hearing at the Tollway’s Downers Grove headquarters, which was also accessible live online with opportunity for the public to submit questions electronically during the hearing.

Posted Dec. 18, 2014

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