Design-Build Program

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Completed WIS 125/College Avenue design-build project


Potential Future Projects

NEW The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has identified projects that could benefit from design-build procurement and meets the alternative contracting requirements as specified in Wisconsin’s alternative project delivery legislation (Wis. Stat. 84.062).

NEWBlatnik Bridge: The design-build project to replace the Blatnik Bridge between Superior and Duluth, Minn., is a joint effort of the Wisconsin and Minnesota DOTs, with Minnesota being the lead agency. Contracting teams interested in learning more about submitting a project proposal are encouraged to review the information on the Minnesota DOT’s website.

First project open to traffic

WisDOT's first design-build pilot project is open to traffic and nearing completion. The structure on WIS 125/College Avenue in the town of Grand Chute, Outagamie County, reopened to traffic Oct. 31, 2023, within budget and on a compressed schedule.

  • Cost: $3.8 million
  • Two months to complete the construction phase
  • Structure replacement on WIS 125 over Mud Creek just east of I-41
  • Replacement of box culvert and work on pavement, curb and gutter, storm sewer and beam guard

WisDOT is looking closely at how design-build contracts can minimize construction impacts while delivering quality work. That learning process is ongoing as the department continues to evaluate design-build as an alternative contracting method. Congratulations to the project team on completing the construction phase on an expedited schedule!

6/3/22 Best Value Score Results

Design-Build Projects:

The department is pleased to announce the selection ​of its first design-build projects:

  • US 45 Cancelled - 1 non-responsive SOQ
    County C – Gollnow Rd
    Waupaca/Shawano County, North Central Region
    This project involves the construction/replacement of eight miles of pavement on US 45 west of Clintonville.
    (Oct. 8, 2021) Briefing on this project.

  • WIS 125
    I-41 – Bluemound Dr.
    Outagamie County, Northeast Region
    This project involves the removal of a multi-cell box culvert and replacement with a slab span structure on College Avenue in Appleton.
    Updated(Feb. 23, 2022) Briefing on this project.

  • WIS 130
    WIS 23 – Lone Rock
    Richland County, Southwest Region
    This project involves the replacement of the WIS 130 bridges in the Village of Lone Rock.
    Updated(Jan. 14, 2022) Briefing on this project.
    Signed Environmental Document.

More details about timelines for requests for qualification and proposals are being developed and will be shared as they become more defined.

About design-build

WisDOT's Design-Build Program is a collaborative contracting process that brings the engineering and construction industries together at the outset of a highway improvement project. Traditionally in Wisconsin, these processes have always been separated, where a designer plans the project and a construction company will then execute on those plans.

Starting in 2019, the State of Wisconsin allowed WisDOT to structure a design-build option into the highway construction programs. The Design-Build Program is managed under the department’s Alternative Contracting Section. WisDOT’s first design-build project was awarded in 2022.

While not a solution for every scenario, design-build is able to create efficiency by eliminating administrative burden and enhancing the synergy, creativity and communication that ultimately brings a project into reality.

What is design-build?

  • Construction on the WIS 130 design-build project

    Contractors will work with WisDOT to provide design and construction services, creating a streamlined process that enhances communication, planning and execution.
  • Design-build differs from WisDOT’s traditional design-bid-build procurement, which divides projects into design and construction phases that are managed separately.
  • Design-build is used successfully in many states to deliver transportation projects.

How does design-build work?

  • Designers and builders come together early in the project, teaming up to create a proposal for the work.
  • Like with any other WisDOT project, the department will continue to define terms and conditions as well as the goals, requirements and standards.
  • In a design-build project, the design and construction staffs will begin working together in the beginning instead of consecutively. Both disciplines bring skillsets and knowledge that help shape the overall approach with goals of:
    • Accelerating delivery
    • Decreasing administrative burden
    • Creating synergy, efficiency, and innovation

Where does design-build work best?

  • Design-build is generally used for projects that are complex, involve multiple construction trades, or have a tight construction schedule.
  • Any project could be considered for design-build if it provides enough opportunity for innovation.
  • It’s important to note that, like all engineering and planning solutions, design-build is not one-size-fits-all.
  • WisDOT staff will continue to evaluate future program needs to maximize this opportunity.
  • Unlike with the design-bid-build system, a design-build project requires all funding to be encumbered in advance, while the nature of design-bid-build can spread those resource needs over a longer time span while juggling other projects.

For more information

WisDOT’s Alternative Contracting Section in the Bureau of Project Development is responsible for overseeing the procurement process and will manage any problems that arise during the implementation phase. Contact Ben Thompson for more information. Projects are managed by the region offices.

Contractors and consultants wanting to learn more about design-build contracting and how the program is to be implemented in Wisconsin are encouraged to visit this page often for updates.

Join the design-build email distribution list to stay informed of when this website is updated and workshops are scheduled.