Alternative construction method clears first round

Nebraska’s largest counties and cities would be allowed to use an alternative design method for certain transportation projects under a bill advanced from general file April 29.

Sen. Mike Hilgers
Sen. Mike Hilgers

LB583, as introduced by Lincoln Sen. Mike Hilgers, would allow counties of 150,000 or more residents to use a design-build method for projects that fall under the Transportation Innovation Act. Currently, Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy counties meet that threshold.

An amendment, offered by Hilgers and adopted 40-0, also would allow metropolitan and primary class cities to design-build transportation projects. Omaha currently is Nebraska’s only metropolitan class city and Lincoln is the lone primary class city.

Currently, municipalities must contract separately with a designer and with a construction contractor, Hilgers said, but under the design-build approach, municipalities would work with one entity that would manage both design and construction. The design-build method would reduce construction time and costs, Hilgers said.

“It’s a concept that combines some of the steps,” Hilgers said. “It allows you to shave off a significant amount of time in the process.”

Sen. John Arch of La Vista said he supported the bill because using design-build would reduce “billion-dollar surprises.”

“Having that contractor at the table, as well as the architect, brings a different set of eyes,” Arch said.

LB583 advanced to select file on a 40-0 vote.

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