When it comes to areas of expertise in transportation, Ulteig has no shortage of them. From design to construction, roadways to bridges, Right of Way and noise analysis … the list goes on. But in the case of Arvada’s West 72nd Ave. bond project, Ulteig had an even more important role: serving as an extension of the client.
Ulteig is the owner’s representative for the City of Arvada, Colorado, explains Bob Smith, manager of construction management. “The City of Arvada recognized the value of external support for a project of this complexity, so Ulteig stepped in to lend their expertise in helping city staff manage it.”
In short, Smith’s team isn’t doing part of the work, but overseeing all of it. The team is providing services that include design review, value engineering, schedule review, cost negotiations, and public outreach. The delivery method, Construction Manager General Contractor, or CMGC, is also relatively unique. Around 90-95 percent of projects are completed using the design, bid, build process, meaning each step of the project happens in order. Using CMGC, Arvada hired the designer to progress the design to 30 percent complete. Then the city hired the contractor, and brought on Ulteig simultaneously, using Ulteig’s expertise to foster collaboration between the contractor and designer.
“This is a niche expertise of Ulteig’s,” Smith said. “CMGC is unique to those of us on the team. We won this project built on our background and specific expertise.”
Ulteig started work as the owner’s rep in early 2020. Some of this early work included heavy public outreach, which is key to the success of the client and, ultimately, the project. One member of the team, Will Kerns, senior transportation planner, talked to 84 property owners about the improvements coming their way. He offered information, filled in holes and eased concerns.
“I think it’s one of our differentiators,” said Smith. “We have the relationships and the soft skills, in addition to the project management experience.”
One of the doors Kerns knocked on could have been Smith’s. He lives in Arvada and has personally experienced some of the current issues that will soon be solved by his team. Among them is traffic back-ups and congestion caused by heavily used railroad tracks—which happen to run right past the school.
“There are maybe 20-minute delays. The traffic is horrible,” said Smith, who said he had to take a different route to get his daughter to preschool, just to avoid the busy times. But with the road widening, railroad underpass, and upgraded turn pockets, among other plans for West 72nd Street, that congestion will be dramatically reduced.
Arvada has confidence that Ulteig will once again prove their expertise in another area—delivering projects on-time and under-budget. Which means that by 2024, Smith will be reaping the benefits of his and his team’s hard work.