Urban provided construction management services for PennDOT's new 43,000-SF, two-story Regional Transportation Management Center (RTMC), as well as the fit-out of the current RTMC; demolition of a parking structure; and construction of a two-level, 86,000-SF above-ground parking structure.
Being able to quickly respond to traffic incidents can improve congestion, increase efficiency, and most importantly, save lives. PennDOT District 6-0’s new Regional Transportation Management Center (RTMC) and parking structure are the technical and institutional hub to bring together the various jurisdictions, multimodal transportation area’s interests, and service providers to focus on the common goal of optimizing the performance of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s transportation networks. To develop this facility and parking structure, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services sought a consultant team to create a larger, more modern building for PennDOT District 6-0 to expand their capabilities for managing the region’s traffic flow.
Urban provided construction management services for this high-profile project. The work included construction of the 43,000-SF, two-story new RTMC, which was designed to achieve LEED Silver certification; fit-out of the current RTMC; demolition of a parking structure; and construction of a multi-level, 86,000-SF above-ground parking structure. Urban’s contribution to the project included oversight/compliance with state and federal requirements – including Buy America, labor provisions, and DBE participation – as well as cost management; change order management; schedule and budget oversight; site inspection; closeout; and design review.
The original schedule required construction of the parking garage be completed by March 31, 2021, followed by demolition of the existing parking structure. To expedite construction, Urban worked with the contractor and owner to begin demolition in February 2021, while most PennDOT employees were working from home owing to COVID-19, and while the new parking garage was under construction. This accelerated the overall project schedule by two months.
The RTMC features an innovative digital video wall architecture and a robust data network to enhance traffic incident coordination and communication with public and partner agencies. The RTMC is a 24/7 facility and will also serve as an emergency response center. The building is equipped with an emergency generator, a three-day supply of drinking water, and murphy-beds, as well as a new radio connection to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
Project challenges stemmed from overlapping design and construction stages, along with the three sequences of construction – parking garage, RTMC, and backfill of the office space. In addition to addressing these challenges, Urban tracked allocation of state and federal funding. Urban focused on maintaining the project budget and schedule while balancing priorities of various stakeholders, including PennDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, and Upper Merion Township. The use of the design-build delivery method was useful in dealing with the complexities of this project. Having the designer on the contractor’s team facilitated coordination and fast-tracked the overall project schedule, while reducing the owner’s risk.
Several client-requested change orders were processed during design. Urban analyzed the scope and cost of each change order, including providing independent quantity take-off and cost estimates. Using this data, Urban negotiated cost savings on multiple change orders.
Keeping the project on schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic was an additional challenge for the project team. Certain materials were unavailable due to supply chain disruptions and factory closures. Throughout construction, Urban and the project team were able to find ways to keep the project moving and on schedule despite multiple materials being unavailable or delayed for months. Toward the end of the project, a delay in the Air-Handling Units and Computer Room Air Conditioning Units was impossible to overcome as these were custom-made units. Overall, the project completion was only delayed by 90-days, despite two years of pandemic-related supply chain issues.