The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority recently celebrated the successful completion of the Rte. 101 widening project. Widening Rte. 101, located in Santa Clara County, Calif., will greatly reduce traffic congestion on the major southern gateway to Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.
The overall project was completed seven months ahead of schedule, saving an estimated $16 million in lost travel time dollars, and came in $18 million below budget. The design process was executed by Brian Kangas Foulk, San Jose, Calif., and managed by the Santa Clara Valley Highway Associates team (VHA), a joint venture of HNTB Corp. and Hatch Mott MacDonald.
"The opening of U.S. 101 three months earlier than the original contract date was due to the construction contractor and the Santa Clara Valley Highway Associates working cooperatively to overcome potential delays from an adjacent project in San Jose," said Jeff Funk, deputy director of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. "VHA represented VTA's needs well in working with the contractor to identify strategies where resequencing construction staging could not only overcome potential delays, but also could accelerate the opening-to-traffic date and keep the cost of resequencing to a minimum."
The widening project expanded both directions of Rte. 101 (approximately 11 miles) from four to eight lanes (including two high occupancy vehicle lanes) with a 3-m shoulder from Cochrane Road overcrossing in Morgan Hill to approximately one mile north of the Bernal Road/Silicon Valley Blvd. undercrossing in San Jose. The widening was contained within the existing median, however, five bridge structures were widened as part of this project.
Effective design, quality control and constructibility and bidability reviews are sited as keys to the project's bid savings. Strategies that kept the project ahead of schedule include following an aggressive critical path schedule, and VHA worked with construction contractors RGW Construction Inc. and MCM to identify areas in which construction could be accelerated to complete the project early. Using multiple construction contracts and partnering with the primary pavement contractors also contributed to overall time savings.