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Q: Expediting government construction contracts ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Expediting government construction contracts
Category: Business and Money > Consulting
Asked by: luckycen-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 02 May 2002 00:32 PDT
Expires: 09 May 2002 00:32 PDT
Question ID: 11016
I'm looking for information on the process that was used to speed the
repair of the earthquake destroyed freeway about 8 or 10 years ago in
LA (Northbrook?).  In order to speed the work incentives were offered
to the contractor and it was further enabled by various waivers or
other easings of government red tape.  I want ammunition to use with
my local government's transportation department which seems to let the
contractors take all the time they want and block traffic any time or
place with no regard for the public's convenience.  The LA story was
remarkable, and I seek media stories and also, if possible, any
in-depth studies that may have been done on the issue.   If the
government can waive their normal procedures when the public clamors
for speed, why not permanently do away with those procedures?  As I
recall it was at first thought that the job would not be finished for
something like 18 months, but with the contractor properly induced to
speed the freeway opened in something like 5 months!   I'll be
grateful for any help you can find.  I'm travelling Sunday AM and
would be grateful for an answer this week before I leave.  Thanks in
advance.  Luckycen
Subject: Re: Expediting government construction contracts
Answered By: answerguru-ga on 02 May 2002 10:25 PDT
Hi there,

Our search returned the following results:

This site has a detailed description of the entire earthquake,
including the following (from summary):

USGS Roles and Actions in the Response 
The Earthquake's Setting and Impacts 
Evaluating Ground Response 
Ground Failures and Landslides 
Investigating Building and Freeway Damages 
Updating Seismic Hazards Assessments 
Facilitating Communications 
Creating Policies and Plans for Seismic Safety

There is also more detailed information regarding the freeway
reconstruction methods and strategies at these links:

This excerpt from is
very relevant to your question:

I have visited Los Angeles often to assess the progress on
reconstruction," Aubry said. "One cannot underscore the urgency of
reopening the damaged highways as quickly as possible in the interest
of the region's economy and efficient transportation. Cal/OSHA has
made every effort to facilitate a quick rebuilding while ensuring
safety. The early reopening of the Santa Monica Freeway with a great
safety record is an accomplishment of which we are proud."

Aubry noted that highway demolition and construction is high-hazard
work. To ensure safety, Cal/OSHA's Consultation Service has regularly
visited sites and has been working in an advisory role with
contractors and subcontractors. Highway work has continued 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. As a result, Cal/OSHA has approved overtime
for staff to visit sites outside of regular working hours, Aubry said.
Although the work is high-hazard and is moving quickly, he said, the
safety record has been excellent.

"With such an intense operation and high-hazard work, we are proud of
the safety record on the Santa Monica Freeway project as well as the
other reconstruction projects," Aubry said. The rapid progress at the
Santa Monica Freeway site was accomplished with only one ankle injury
when a bar rolled onto a worker's leg, and only a few other injuries
that Cal/OSHA classifies as negligible.

Immediately following the earthquake, Governor Wilson directed all
state agencies to exert every effort to assist in a quick recovery
from the devastating earthquake. Cal/OSHA has played a central role in
the effort because of its responsibility for enforcement of state
workplace safety and health laws, including issuance of safety permits
on certain projects for construction, demolition, and trenching.

In order to fulfill the Governor's directive and facilitate quick
reconstruction of damaged highways, Cal/OSHA designed methods to
expedite technical assistance and consultation services required by
the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) and contractors
working on the highway rebuilding projects. Cal/OSHA has accelerated
the construction process by issuing permits at CalTrans offices and at
highway construction sites, rather than requiring contractors to spend
the time to come into Cal/OSHA offices for permits. Aubry added that
CalTrans is near letting contracts for rebuilding of the Interstate
5/Highway 14 interchange. When CalTrans does, he said, Cal/OSHA stands
ready to meet immediately with subcontractors on permit requirements
and will issue permits at CalTrans offices or in the field.

"The situation in the Los Angeles Basin, especially concerning
transportation, clearly is an emergency," Aubry said. "We are proud of
the unprecedented cooperation we have seen between agencies, and we
are succeeding in getting the job done and doing it quickly as well as

"Cal/OSHA's role has been as a facilitator rather than as an
enforcer," Aubry said. "Our goal is to facilitate quick rebuilding
while protecting safety. We are particularly pleased that we have a
hand in accelerating reopening of the Santa Monica Freeway. The early
reopening will be good for the region's transportation and economy.
And, through Cal/OSHA's efforts, it was accomplished with a very high
level of safety."

There is also a research initiative that is focusing on improving
reconstruction processes, and they can be located at:

The most relevant sections of this site are outlined here:

Group B: Transportation

1. Enhancement of performance databases for highway structures and

2. Improved loss models and reconstruction strategies for highway

Group D: Damage Assessment 

1. Real-time development of ground motion information. 

2. Real-time assessment of large ground deformation after earthquake.

3. Real-time development of damage estimation model of facilities. 

4. Real-time loss estimation for disaster management.

5. GIS-based decision support systems for effective disaster recovery.

6. Rapid screening and upgrading procedures for seismically vulnerable

7. Cost-effective methods for identifying non-exposed damage. 

Here is an extremely informative research proposal that outlines why
there should be additional research efforts focused on speeding up
highway construction..includes brief analysis of other transportation
structures across the country:

Finally, as my associate (biba) has pointed out, this site offer some
information regarding performance incentives for contractors and so

Let me know if you need any further clarification :)

Hope this was helpful!
Subject: Re: Expediting government construction contracts
From: biba-ga on 02 May 2002 03:26 PDT
If this is the Northridge earthquake of 1994 then this site has a
comment about how "substantial performance incentives" to the
contractor meant that the repairs were completed in 2 months

This page also mentions how Federal
Emergency Management funds were provided for road repair (although
that may have been for other freeways). has a case study of
the entire thing, which may provide some useful contact information.

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