IDOT Announces Two Major Dan Ryan Contracts Awarded to DBE Firms
IDOT Announces Two Major Dan Ryan Contracts
Awarded to DBE Firms
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced that in a major step forward for minority-owned engineering firms - it has awarded engineering consulting contracts to two joint ventures that qualify as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.
A contract to oversee the $90 million reconstruction of the mainline of the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) reconstruction was awarded to the African American Dan Ryan Inspection Team, a joint venture between two African-American owned firms: Environmental Design International Inc. and Infrastructure Engineering Inc. A second contract to oversee a $36 million contract for bridge deck repairs on the Dan Ryan was awarded to Tecma-Omega JV, a joint venture of two Asian-American owned firms: Tecma Associates Inc. and Omega & Associates Inc. “The award of these prime contracts represent a real breakthrough for minority-owned engineering firms,” said IDOT Secretary Timothy W. Martin. “This demonstrates that IDOT is delivering on Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s commitment to open up the road building process to greater minority participation.” Martin added that the two contracts were awarded based on the qualifications of the two joint venture firms, which submitted strong proposals.
“I think IDOT made history today,” said Deborah Sawyer, owner of Environmental Design International. “The African American Dan Ryan Construction Inspection Team is proud to be the first joint venture of African-American engineering firms to win such a significant project. IDOT, and especially Secretary Martin, Chief of Staff Robin Black and District One Regional Deputy Director Diane O’Keefe, should be commended for putting their money where their mouth is.“It shows the DBE Program works! Environmental Design and Infrastructure Engineering have worked for years as a subconsultant and prime consultant on IDOT, Illinois Tollway, CDOT, and Cook County projects. We have built capacity and good reputations. The joint venture is excited and ready to show the citizens of the State of Illinois that DBEs can grow their firms, provide a quality work product, and at the same time provide opportunities to our community, the community served by the Dan Ryan.”
The contract amount is still under negotiation, but typically these types of contracts are about 10 percent of the overall project cost. The two firms will be responsible for inspecting and overseeing the work on these two projects and for ensuring that the finished product meets IDOT’s specifications.
IDOT, acting at the direction of Gov. Blagojevich, has made an unprecedented effort to increase minority participation on the Dan Ryan and Kingery reconstruction projects now underway in the Chicago area. Earlier this year, IDOT announced that it was increasing its goal for DBE participation on the Dan Ryan and Kingery projects to 35 percent from the statewide goal 22.7 percent. The Department also set aside a portion of the contracts this summer for small businesses, to give minority firms a better chance to compete.
In addition to creating opportunities for minority contractors, IDOT has also worked to ensure that the workforce includes more minorities. This summer, IDOT launched an On-The-Job Training Program that has directly created 100 jobs for women and minorities to train and work on the Dan Ryan and Kingery projects. Last month, IDOT announced that a recent study found almost half of the Dan Ryan work force are members of minority groups. Minority workers, which include African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and Native-Americans, amounted to 328 of the 669 workers (49%) on the Dan Ryan project, according to the study. African-Americans constituted 22% of the work force and Hispanics were at 26%. IDOT is in the midst of a four-year, $600 million reconstruction project on the Dan Ryan from 31st Street to 95th Street. The improved Dan Ryan will include an additional lane in each direction, a reconfigured Skyway interchange and upgrades to the local access roads that run parallel to the expressway. The project goals include improving safety for motorists, reducing commuting time on the city’s busiest expressway and creating jobs.
For the most updated information, visit www.danryanexpressway.com or call 1-877-411-IDOT.