Orange County Branch Newsletter

August 2012

Transportation Technical Group

Alameda Corridor-East Capital Improvement Program

On July 10, 2012, Mr. Mark Christoffels presented the Alameda Corridor-East (ACE) program, to over 40 transportation design and construction professionals at the University Club, on the UCI campus in Irvine.   Mr. Christoffels, Chief Engineer/ Deputy CEO of ACE, gave a synopsis of the current ACE program status, including planned projects and their timing, as well as challenges ahead and lessons learned in the program to date.

Significant topics covered during the presentation and the following question and answer period included discussing the changes that Mr. Christoffels has seen between his first stint with ACE, and his current leadership of the program.   Utility relocations have become much more critical, both from a timing and funding perspective, as dollars are tight across the board and utility companies are not able to implement relocations in phase with the timing of ACE improvements.   Changing the profile grade of the facility, such as a railroad tracks over or under local facilities, can impact adjacent properties by eliminating frontage access and causing the properties to become land locked.  In such cases, ACE must purchase the entire property and then sell the remaining unused property after the project is completed to offset the right of way cost.  Overall funding remains tight, so ACE has moved their program forward by leveraging federal, state, and local funding sources.  ACE has also found that lump sum contracts help make the design process proceed on a faster basis, in some instances.  Owners of the completed project, usually transfers to the adjacent property owner, often want the project scope enhanced to offset the additional operations and maintenance costs they will be responsible for.  Caltrans requirement of only one company audit per project has helped speed up the overall project delivery process.  ACE also coordinates with other local transportation agencies (i.e., with OCTA) to ensure that the advertisement of large construction contracts are spaced out, so as not to over-saturate the ability of firms to competitively bid on such significant projects.  And finally, additional contracts are to be bid and advertised in the coming months and years, which was welcome news to the presentation attendees.

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