Numerous infrastructure projects expected in early 2021

By Mary Scott Nabers

As public officials begin to look at 2021, many are preparing to launch large infrastructure projects. Several of these efforts may be delivered through public-private partnerships (P3s). Most infrastructure-related projects are complex, diverse, critical in nature, and costly. Here are a few worthy of note.

Arizona
Officials at Northern Arizona University have announced several large construction projects. Construction will begin soon on a new STEM Academic/Research Building. Its projected cost is $130 million. The 60,000-square-foot facility will encompass STEM disciplines and provide additional space for research.
Other priority projects include the renovation of the Biological Sciences Building, an 86,964-square-foot facility that is part of the North Campus Science Corridor. Renovation of the university’s Physical Sciences Building is also planned, and that work is scheduled for the same time span.

Florida
The Southwest Florida International Airport is planning a large $250 million terminal expansion. The project has been delayed for a year because of the pandemic, but now is the time for interested parties to gather information and position themselves to compete for the work. The project includes an 18-line centralized security checkpoint inside the terminal. Three separate security checkpoint areas will be constructed. Other amenities include enhanced dining, shopping, and check-in areas along with significant improvements to ticketing areas. A second project, construction of passenger boarding bridges at a cost of $45 million, is proceeding and has not been delayed.

Virginia
City leaders at Newport News will launch a $45 million project in 2021 related to the replacement of water meters. The current waterworks system has approximately 126,000 water meters that require manual readings. The plan is to install an advance metering infrastructure system that will report readings electronically without human involvement. The new system will allow for other capabilities as well, such as delivering water consumption statistics to customers on a continual basis.
Another $15.5 million is allocated for removal and replacement of lead risks within the water distribution system. Work has been ongoing for several years to replace aging pipes. Newport News has scheduled 900 other improvements to the system.

Montana
Public officials in Billings will spend $27 million on the first phase of a large reservoir project. After identifying high risk associated with water supply related to the West End Reservoir, a $120 million initiative was launched. The reservoir will get a new pump station and new pipelines. The objective is to provide residents a sustainable supply of water.
The city also plans to build a west end water treatment plant at a cost of $40.3 million. Planning, design, and engineering will begin in 2021. The Billings Water Treatment Plant is the only source of potable drinking water for more than 110,000 residents.

Indiana
The Indianapolis City-County Council will seek support for up to $155 million in bonds for an expansion project related to the Indiana Convention Center. Officials say this will bring the city one step closer to a transformation of the Pan Am Plaza downtown. The expansion plan calls for construction of a 50,000-square-foot ballroom across the street from the current convention center. A walkway will be built to connect the new facility to the convention center. Construction will include 93,500 square feet of space for meeting rooms and other uses. City leaders plan for the project to be completed by 2024.

Pennsylvania
Solicitation documents have been released by the city of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority for the development of a stormwater master plan. Aging infrastructure is causing the combined sewer systems to overflow into rivers, streets, and even some basements when heavy rains occur. The stormwater plan will provide guidance and identify immediate priorities. It will include a long-term outlook for the city’s water needs. Numerous water infrastructure projects are anticipated in the near future.

The Shadyside Village Council and the Shadyside Board of Education are planning a new $60 million school facility called Hill View that would house pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade students. A consultant has been hired to assist with potential funding opportunities that could aid with necessary demolition of Leona Middle School and construction of the new facility on the property In order to obtain additional state and federal funding, the Village must sign the property over to the school district. The project is currently in the beginning planning stages, and construction will occur in a couple of years.

Washington
Citizens in the city of Shoreline will see a $64.3 million roadway reconstruction project launched in 2022. The project will include design, environmental work, and construction of improvements to State Road 523. This project is expected to continue through 2026. Additionally, the project will include work associated with the 145th Sound Transit Link Light Rail Station and planned growth within the 145th Street Station Subarea. Further improvements and enhancements will be made to improve vehicular capacity, walkways, lighting, underground utilities, and the storm water system.
Another large $25.6 million transportation project is planned for the Interstate 5 and NE145th Street interchange. The project will involve replacing the existing signalized intersections and making major changes to the bridge deck. Construction of a new shared-use cycle and pedestrian path is a part of the plan.

Idaho
Boise Airport officials plan to construct a five-story parking garage to facilitate 1,150 vehicles and parking space for 30 cycles. The garage project will be constructed on space currently dedicated to surface parking. The plan includes demolition of the current exit toll booth and construction of a new seven-lane structure which will be located closer to the airport building. A new passenger bridge will link the garage to the second level of the airport’s flyover bridge. No timeline has been announced for the launch of this project. Airport officials are in the initial planning phases for other airport projects.

The new year promises infrastructure projects of every size and type coming to every region in the U.S. And, industry contractors believe that 2021 will be the year for a national focus on America’s infrastructure. Projects in planning stages today will likely be ‘shovel ready’ and may be first in line for federal incentives when Congress finally passes a national infrastructure bill.

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