SR 520 Sustainable Practices Plan

The Washington State Department of Transportation is designing and building a safer, more reliable SR 520 corridor. The 12.8-mile SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program begins at I-5 in Seattle and extends to SR 202 in Redmond. This program consists of several coordinated design and construction projects, including the Floating Bridge and Landings Project, Medina to SR 202: Eastside Transit and HOV Project, and Pontoon Construction Project.

Since 2011, O’Brien & Company has supported sustainable design and construction practices on the Floating Bridge and Landings Project, which spans the eastern edge of Lake Washington to the connection point with the Montlake/Arboretum in Seattle. O’Brien & Company is part of the Kiewit/General/Manson (KGM) design-build team, serving in the role of Sustainable Practices Manager.  This project is the first on which WSDOT included this role as a contract requirement.

The Sustainable Practices Manager is responsible for development and implementation of a Sustainable Practices Plan for project design and construction. Development of the plan centered on identifying and refining sustainability outcomes and strategies, as well as creating a process and structure for measuring specific areas of project performance. With work underway at all sites, O’Brien & Company is currently focused on that performance measurement, which includes data collection, performance tracking, and reporting. O’Brien & Company works closely with both the KGM team and WSDOT staff, through the mechanism of a sustainability task force.  In addition to the sustainable practices pan itself, we have developed training materials—including a video for all crew and subcontractors—and templates for data collection and reporting, including an at-a-glance performance ‘dashboard’ that is posted monthly at all work sites.

All our work on this project supports WSDOT ‘Golden Thread of Sustainability’—four key sustainability goals woven through the design, construction and operation of the new SR 520 corridor: reduce, reuse or recycle construction materials; reclaim existing sites and facilities for new uses; reduce greenhouse gases during construction and for the life of the corridor; and improve access for all users to transportation options and community space. This project’s focus on implementing and tracking sustainability will not only demonstrate the design-builder has met or exceeded contractual requirements, but can also begin establishing baselines of what constitutes sustainable design and construction on large-scale transportation projects.