ITD’s extensive report on efficiencies is not the end of a process, but rather a major step forward in what is becoming a standard way of providing transportation products and services. The department will use past achievements as a model for moving forward, explains Director Pam Lowe.
“I was both surprised and pleased about some of the creative things that all of the divisions and districts have been doing,” Lowe said of the efficiencies. “We learned through the process that we need to do a better job of sharing the efficiencies of one district or section with employees throughout the department. It points to a need for more coordination and communication.”
She challenges the department to “drive Practical Design farther and deeper” and incorporate the basic concept beyond project design and construction.
In the immediate future, ITD will apply the same philosophy – tailoring projects to their immediate environment and not doing more than is necessary – to other areas, such as facilities, rest areas, highway maintenance, purchases …
Lowe said ITD staff has met with representatives of the Associated General Contractors to identify more than two-dozen changes to the construction inspection and testing processes that will be implemented in January. They will continue to look for ways to achieve savings.
One of those strategies could include alternative bidding that allows flexibility in materials and methods to satisfy basic project needs.
Which is more appropriate for a specific project, concrete or asphalt? Will a thinner overlay suffice and still ensure pavement longevity? Can we achieve the same pavement protection by seal-coating from fog line to fog line instead of the full width of a highway?
“We will apply those kinds of questions to many of the decisions we make in the future as we look for better and smarter ways of doing business. It has become part of our ITD culture,” Lowe adds.
“We also will be looking at our consultant processes to assure we have the best cost controls in place to assure that we are getting the best value for the taxpayers’ dollar.”