The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) announced Jan. 16 that it has terminated negotiations with Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) to further improvements along Interstate 81 in accordance with the Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA). This decision follows a Dec. 18 letter from KRB in which the firm declined further participation as the lead contractual entity in the STAR Solutions consortium.
“After careful review of KBR’s notification, I have directed VDOT to terminate all activities related to the PPTA procurement of improvements along the I-81 corridor,” said VDOT Commissioner David S. Ekern.
KBR cited changes in its corporate ownership and “a need to manage its business profile very carefully” for its request to withdraw from the proposed I-81 PPTA project. KBR separated from Halliburton, Inc. in 2007 and became its own publicly traded company.
VDOT has worked with STAR Solutions since February of 2004 when the consortium was selected under provisions of the PPTA to develop improvements along the 323-mile I-81 corridor. In October 2006, the Commonwealth Transportation Board redirected VDOT to focus its efforts on safety and operational improvements to include truck-climbing lanes in certain locations. VDOT was negotiating an interim agreement under the PPTA procurement with KBR for task orders to design and construct these safety improvements.
VDOT will advance the proposed truck-climbing lanes in VDOT’s Staunton and Salem Districts using design-build contracts. On Jan. 22, VDOT will release advertisements to solicit design and contracting firms for the Staunton District truck-climbing lanes project. The Salem District truck-climbing lanes project will be advertised in fall 2008.
“I have determined that these recommendations are in the public’s interest because they allow for the referenced safety and operational improvement to I-81 to be completed in a timely manner and to use federal allocations on this work,” Ekern said. “While we continue to look to long-term plans for the future of I-81, at this time we have elected to focus our resources to complete more than $730 million of I-81 projects that are currently included in VDOT’s six-year improvement program. This change does not slow down the planned safety improvements on I-81, it will just change the method though which we deliver these projects.”