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Feasibility studies are early indicators of upcoming government projects

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is conducting an engineering and environmental study related to roadway improvements on a 38-mile section of US 180 between the communities of Bayard and Deming. This study has been underway for several months, and recommendations are expected early in 2021. The study is exploring various options for roadway improvement.

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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 issued a request for qualifications that is due by January 29 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 (ARFF) 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

City leaders in Lubbock are interested in construction of a parking garage and the development of a park in the downtown area. A study has been commissioned for a schematic design and recommendations as to location, cost estimates, and other factors. It is anticipated that construction of the park could require demolition of the former Lubbock Power & Light facility. Early conversations related to the new park have included comments about large gathering spaces, water features, outdoor seating, space for public art and native landscaping, and economic impact.

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Wisconsin

The city of Mount Pleasant will commission a feasibility study to focus on the demand for a convention center as well as develop a design and cost estimates. The project would likely be a partnership between the city, the tourism commission, and a private-sector partner. The new facility would be built on 10 acres, and officials are hoping it could be completed sometime late in 2022.

Illinois

A study has been completed for the city of Galesburg that outlines the physical and financial feasibility of expanding Lake Storey by approximately 427 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.

Connecticut

New Haven Public Schools has announced plans to begin a study that will outline future needs of the school system. A consultant will be selected to prepare a Facilities Master Plan that will outline priorities for repair, renovation, reconstruction, or consolidation, including major building mechanicals. The proposal also will identify alternatives for reducing the district’s energy consumption and analyze school enrollment projections, population trends, and forecasted demographics for the next 10 years.

New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is conducting an engineering and environmental study related to roadway improvements on a 38-mile section of US 180 between the communities of Bayard and Deming. This study has been underway for several months, and recommendations are expected early in 2021. The study is exploring various options for roadway improvement such as additional travel lanes, wider passing lanes, shoulder expansions, and the intersection upgrades. Other anticipated enhancements include replacing aging pavement, improving drainage structures, and improving other roadway elements.

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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 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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(Featured image by Free-Photos via Pixabay)

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Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S.