On behalf of the entire DFW Connector project team, I am deeply honored to be selected to receive the White House Champions of Change award.
State transportation agencies don’t typically come to mind when thinking about organizations that embrace change and come up with bold, new ideas. Initially seen as highly experimental, the DFW Connector project has elevated expectations and established the standards of success and excellence for transportation projects across the state and county.
The challenge that the DFW Connector team faced was an immense one: to unsnarl traffic at the north entrance of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the world’s eighth busiest. As a part of this project, the team also faced time constraints, lack of funding and extreme congestion caused by 175,000 daily commuters through the area.
The North Texas region desperately (and quickly!) needed the $1.1 billion highway expansion project, which received more federal stimulus funds ($260 million) than any other transportation project in the nation. As such, the project’s owner, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), needed to find a new method of project delivery.
TxDOT reached out to the entire transportation industry for their thoughts, ideas and input. With this input, TxDOT chose a new type of project delivery for the owner: Design Build. This method of delivery allows for innovative assignments of risk to the owner and developer, with each party responsible for the risk they could best manage. TxDOT selected NorthGate Constructors as the contractor based on their proposed use of new technology, holistic public outreach campaign, cutting edge construction methods and aggressive schedule.
Although construction on the project will not be completely finished until 2014, project stakeholders and commuters are already considering the DFW Connector a success. TxDOT and NorthGate Constructors’ dedication to transparency and teamwork has put the DFW Connector project on that path to success. As a result, the DFW Connector project serves as an innovative model for transportation projects nation-wide.
Sam E. Swan is the Project Manager for the DFW Connector Project and is responsible for overseeing and managing procurement, design and construction.