Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Earns DBIA Merit Award

Each July, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) recognize outstanding projects across several categories that showcase the best and brightest projects using design-build. This year DBIA awarded 31 total Merit Awards, which are eligible for a National Award of Excellence at the Design-Build Conference and Expo Awards Ceremony in November.

Among the winning projects in the Transportation Category is the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction project for CSX in Washington, D.C. The full list of winner can be found here.

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction (VAT) project is the last of 61 projects in CSX Transportation’s National Gateway Initiative, an infrastructure improvement plan designed to improve rail connections by upgrading bridges and tunnels to allow passage of double-stacked intermodal freight trains. The VAT is the culmination of an ambitious 10-year initiative, but it is also an incredibly complex project in its own right – a progressive design-build project that spanned 10 city blocks in the heart of the nation’s capital. Spanning Virginia Avenue SE from 2nd to 11th Streets, the project was one of the most critical, and sensitive, civil infrastructure improvement projects in the country.

Progressive design-build was essential to the project’s myriad challenges, especially the project analysis and approval mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for work on this century-old tunnel. Early contractor involvement allowed the design-builder’s senior leadership to be involved in the early stages of project planning and enabled the client to build a team based on qualifications and experience; both factors are essential design-build procurement best practices that led to project success. Following more than three years of support services during NEPA environmental impact studies, Clark/Parsons completed the project in two phases with no interruption to train operations (a critical priority) successfully completing the project on-schedule and under budget. The team’s alignment also proved essential to obtaining community buy-in on the project, another significant challenge, throughout construction.

Design-Build Team
Client/Owner: CSX Transportation
Design-Build Firm: Clark/Parsons, A Joint Venture
General Contractor: Clark Construction Group, LLC
Architect: Parsons
Engineer: Parsons
Project Manager: Clark/Parsons, A Joint Venture
Construction Duration: 44 Months

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