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Ten firms seek to qualify to bid on Western Bypass



By

Kurt Walters

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Virginia Department on Transportation announced Tuesday that 10 firms have submitted responses during the first phase of VDOT’s request for proposals for the

U.S. 29 Western Bypass

.

Firms that VDOT determines to be qualified will be allowed to continue on to the second stage of the process and enter formal bids for the bypass by April 17.

Morgan Butler, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, which opposes the bypass, said that the road’s design and other important aspects of the firms’ submissions will come to light in a later round.

“The more critical information that the community is going to be interested in is still to come with future submissions,” Butler said.

The bypass is a “design-build” project, which means that the firm selected to build the road also will have submitted design plans for the road. Historically, construction companies built roads designed by VDOT, but Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration has favored design-build, saying it will allow roads to be built faster and more economically.

All designs will have to comply with broader parameters for the road, chiefly to construct a four-lane, limited access bypass of U.S. 29 beginning south of the Forest Lakes South neighborhood at Ashwood Boulevard and connecting to the U.S. 250 Bypass at Leonard Sandridge Road.

Of the 10 firms submitting qualifications packages, five are based in Virginia. Of the other five, one each is from South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, New York and Texas.

The nearest firm is American Infrastructure, which has a branch office in Glen Allen and has partnered on its proposal with design firm Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., which has a Richmond branch.

VDOT officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story by press time.