State Route 239, the $750 million, 20-mile multimodal corridor project, that will connect Brentwood and Tracy is ready to move to the next phase. At Wednesday’s Contra Costa Transportation Planning Committee meeting staff proposed that CCTA enter into a cooperative agreement with Caltrans for the preparation a Project Initiation Document (PID) for the SR 239 corridor. The committee approved the agreement which now heads to the full board for approval.
The project initiation phase is the first formal project phase in developing a solution for a specific transportation problem. The project initiation phase is subsequent to the system and regional planning process and precedes the environmental phase. The outcome of the project initiation process is a project initiation document (PID) that establishes a well-defined purpose and need statement, proposed project scope tied to a reliable cost estimate and schedule. The use of State funds for capital improvements on the State Highway System (SHS) requires an approved PID. Any major work on the State Highway System regardless of how it is funded requires an approved PID.
More About the PID
- PID documents the purpose and need.
Need (transportation deficiency)
Purpose (objectives that will be met to address the transportation deficiency)
- Existing information, initial assumptions, identified risks, and constraints.
- Approach (i.e. scope) including alternatives that will be taken to meet or reduce transportation deficiencies and address the purpose and need.
- Narrows down the number of project alternatives to be studied, which allows the Project Approval and Environmental Document PA&ED to be more efficient.
- The scope is tied to realistic cost estimates and schedules to fund the project.
After the PID component comes the Permits and Environmental Studies component. For a capital project to proceed, it must receive official federal, state, and environmental approvals as well as approval from all the stakeholders and the public. By the end of this component, the stakeholders should agree on a preferred alternative that has a minimal impact on the environment. The preferred alternative must satisfy the project’s purpose and need statement, and be the least damaging to the environment.
The main deliverables for the Permits and Environmental Studies component are:
- The Final Project Report — further refines the purpose and need, identifies the alternative selected, describes how that alternative was decided upon, and describes how consensus was reached between Caltrans and stakeholders. It also includes more detailed engineering designs required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
- The Final Environmental Document — contains required environmental approvals.
Construction companies must know what a project requires in order to bid for the contract. The plans, specifications, and estimate created in this component provide companies with the information they need to develop an accurate bid.
During the PS&E component, the Project Manager (PM) leads the efforts of the team to produce the PS&E package. This package includes:
- Detailed designs/plans for the preferred alternative identified in the Permits and Environmental Studies component
- Detailed project specifications (material to use, contract guidelines, permits needed, etc.)
- Estimates for the exact amounts of materials needed and their costs (capital costs only, not support costs)
When the PS&E package is complete, the project should be biddable and buildable. That is, contractors have enough information to bid accurately, and they can build what they bid to do.
Work on this component is often done at the same time as the Right of Way component.
Caltrans is required to obtain property rights for the construction of many of its transportation projects. The Right of Way component involves preparing maps and legal documents, preparing appraisals, obtaining legal and physical possession of property, relocating occupants, and clearing all physical obstructions, including utilities. Other required activities include managing properties, selling excess properties, monumentation of the right of way, relinquishments and vacations, and preparing right of way record maps.
The main deliverables for the Right of Way component are:
- The Right of Way Certification — summarizes the status of all right of way matters pertaining to a proposed construction project. The Right of Way Certification is included in the PS&E package.
- Legal right of way — secures all real property rights that are required for the project, and relocates occupants according to federal and state laws, regulations, and procedures.
- Clearance of physical obstructions from the right of way — removes improvements, relocates utilities, and executes all railroad agreements.
- Work on this component is often done at the same time as the PS&E and Construction components.
After the construction contract for a Caltrans capital project has been awarded, construction can begin. In the Construction component, the construction contractor builds the actual physical improvement. The PM manages the project budget, addresses risks, and responds to changes that have significant effects on budget or schedule. The PM also ensures that the project, as built, conforms to the details and commitments made in the Final Project Report.
The major deliverable for this component is the constructed physical improvement. This component ends when construction is complete.
Work on this component is sometimes done at the same time as the Right of Way component. In rare instances, the Construction component is actually completed and closed before the Right of Way component. A project is not complete until both the Right of Way component and the Construction component are closed.
This whole process can obviously take years to complete.