Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program
Photo collage: temporary lane closure, road marking installation, cone with mounted warning light, and drum separated work zones.
Office of Operations 21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Design-Build Projects and Work Zone Safety and Mobility

Design-build (DB) projects have become more prevalent as agencies seek to speed up projects and leverage resources. Good work zone planning, design, and operations practices like those advocated by the Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule are just as important to DB projects, but they may need to be applied somewhat differently to address the differences between DB and traditional design-bid-build (DBB) processes. Key challenges to implementing good work zone practices on a DB project include:

  • The Owner Agency and Contractor assume different roles/responsibilities and risks in a DB project.
  • Plans, specifications, & estimates (PS&E) are not developed for a DB project prior to bid. A DB project relies on a good Request for Proposals (RFP) that clearly specifies requirements, without being so prescriptive that innovation is suppressed.
  • Development of a transportation management plan (TMP) is the responsibility of the Contractor who may not have the same expertise or familiarity with State/Agency policies.
  • Phasing and plan development occur in near real-time, which means limited time to assess work zone impacts and develop a TMP. Traffic control plans may be developed days before they will be implemented and require prompt review, with limited time to resolve issues.
  • Maintenance of traffic can be particularly challenging because work zone configurations may change on a frequent basis, leaving limited time for resolution of issues.

FHWA has developed resources to help practitioners incorporate work zone safety and mobility in design-build projects:

  • Key Considerations (HTML, PDF 554KB)
  • Case Studies (HTML, PDF 2.3MB)
  • Tips for Developing RFPs (HTML, PDF 356KB)
  • Summary Leaflet of Successes, Challenges, and Tips (HTML, PDF 554KB)
  • New Item Sharing Work Zone Effective Practices for Design-Build Projects (report) (HTML, PDF 3.5MB)
    • New Item Quality Assurance Checklists for Work Zones in Design-Build Projects (MSWord, 507KB)
    • New Item Additional Checklists to Support Design-Builders and Owners/Agencies (MSWord, 96KB)
  • Additional Examples and Resources

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®.

DOC files can be viewed with the Microsoft Word Viewer.