Bluebonnet Contractors led design and construction on the $2.1-billion North Tarrant Express (NTE), the reconstruction of a 13-mile, east-west highway corridor in Tarrant County. To complete the project on time, the team had to develop an aggressive construction schedule while minimizing impacts on drivers, business and workers.
The project rebuilt Interstate 820 and State Highways 121/183 and included the demolition and rebuilding of 18 bridges and 52 off-ramps and on-ramps, along with new continuous frontage roads as well as rebuilding main lanes and the addition of four tolled, managed lanes. NTE, completed nine months ahead of schedule, was the first public-private partnership to reach completion in North Texas.
Right-of-ways had to be acquired on 400 separate parcels of land, and the team addressed 475 conflicts involving more than 1 million linear ft of utilities. Work also couldn’t be done sequentially because of delayed right-of-way acquisitions. The design-build process enabled the team to make design modifications and adjust phasing as needed without compromising the schedule.
Work on the project wrapped in October 2014 with a total of 9.1-million man-hours, no life-threatening injuries or fatalities, an OSHA recordable incident rate of 0.8 and a lost-time accident rate of 0.2. The project’s customized safety program was developed to meet the challenge of coordinating multiple subcontractors performing work in the same areas and was implemented 24/7. Also, more than 200,000 cars travel the corridor daily—an inherent hazard for any highway project. The program included a four-hour safety and environmental orientation that all employees and subcontracted workers were required to attend before reporting to work. The orientation specifically addressed the traffic hazards and how to work around traffic safely. Other safety measures included weekly toolbox safety meetings and monthly all-employee and supervisor safety meetings.