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Many new contracting opportunities are moving quickly to the launch stage throughout the country. Planning documents and feasibility studies provide early insight into details contractors will want to know when making pursuit decisions. This year promises to be a great time for collaborative initiatives in every jurisdictional level of government.

Here are just a few examples of the types of diverse opportunities that are nearing “shovel-ready” stages.

Maryland

Salisbury city leaders have discussed construction of a new port facility along the Wicomico River. The contract for a feasibility study was awarded in October 2020 that will include recommendations for a location and an analysis of what will be required to develop a multi-user facility. The port intakes about $200 million in imported goods and produce annually, and the region hopes to increase U.S. exports, thereby stimulating the regional economy. The ongoing study will be finalized in early summer and interested contractors should begin monitoring the project soon.

Pennsylvania

After outsourcing COVID-19 care and services for almost a year, a steering committee has recommended the establishment of a County Health Department to Delaware County officials. A feasibility study is underway that will outline a process and make recommendations for considerations. County officials have stated their expectations to have a health care department operational by January 2022.

Nevada

The city of Elko is in the process of choosing a consultant for a focused planning study of its airport. The assessment of the Elko Regional Airport will focus on development of a Regional Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Training Facility. The study also will provide recommendations related to land needs, existing and future aviation needs, commercial terminal and general facility needs, all associated costs and a projected economic impact.

Texas

The Mission City Council wants to build a new international bridge and has agreed to conduct a feasibility study, environmental assessment and a traffic study for the Madero bridge at a cost of $3.3 million. A feasibility study and preliminary environmental analysis on the bridge was conducted in 2019 that looked at a possible four-lane bridge funded with tolls from commercial trucks and passenger cars at a cost of $114 million. The updated study will include a railroad crossing at Madero. City Council members decided to postpone the environmental portion of the study to a date closer to construction in late 2020 or early 2030.

Illinois

A study has been completed for the city of Galesburg that outlines the physical and financial feasibility of expanding Lake Storey by approximately 527 acres. The effort would require the acquisition of an additional 925 acres of land. Preliminary costs, as outlined in the study, are approximately $16 million. Another $10 million will be required for the development of other open spaces near the lake. The project is designed to be a public-private partnership with some funding coming from the city. The next step is for the Galesburg City Council to decide whether to move forward with a more comprehensive feasibility study that focuses on more detailed fieldwork, permitting issues, economic impact and design. If approved, the new study would take a minimum of six more months to complete.

Indiana

Madison County commissioners have decided to move forward with a feasibility study of the county jail after a 12-month delay. The county needs a jail with 500 beds at an estimated cost of $50 million. The county is currently sending inmates to be housed out of the area due to critical infrastructure issues at the jail. The documentation is already in place for a study to be completed within 30 days once a consultant is hired. Planning for a new jail will take 12 months, followed by a 24-month timeframe for construction.

New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT) is conducting an engineering and environmental study related to roadway improvements on a 38-mile section of U.S. 180 between the communities of Bayard and Deming. This study has been underway for several months, and some recommendations were presented in March 2021, such as:

  • Reconstruct U.S. 180 in an undivided four-lane concept from Bayard to just south of Carrasco Avenue in Hurley; and

  • From that point south, reconstruct the highway using an “enhanced two-lane” concept, with passing lanes.

Total cost to construct the recommended project would range from approximately $83 million to $88 million, depending on what is done to the railroad crossing near Hurley. The DOT has three alternatives for the railroad crossing on the south side of Hurley, which are under evaluation. Preliminary design and environmental documental are set to take place in spring 2021. Final design and construction have yet to be determined.

Michigan

New statutes have been approved that allow municipalities throughout Michigan to engage with private companies to improve aging bridge infrastructure and the implementation of tolling measures. This will increase the authority for home-rule cities to enter into public-private partnerships for roadway and bridge repairs and construction. The legislation, SB1215, specifies that tolls may not be collected until a bridge is either renovated or constructed. A new law also requires the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to hire an independent consulting firm to study the feasibility of collecting tolls on interstates. MDOT will ask the contractor to focus on Interstates 75, 94 and 96.

From all indications, 2021 is likely to be a banner year for government contracting of every type. Not only will there be opportunities related to construction, engineering, broadband, health care, education and infrastructure, but there also will be an abundance of opportunities for technology upgrades and system modernizations and revenue-generating development projects of all types. With hopes of COVID-19 containment beginning to flourish, the expected result will be an immediate focus in every region on initiatives that promote and economic stimulus, enhance public infrastructure, and increase health and education virtual capabilities.

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