Harris County Case Study

Harris County, Texas

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Project Location:

Harris County, Texas (Houston County)

Date: Work for the initial year began December 2003. The client has exercised the four one-year options carrying the project through December 2008

Client: Harris County Tollway Authority (HCTRA), 330 Meadowfern Street,
Houston, Texas 77067

Scope and Asset Description:Jorgensen performs all routine roadway maintenance on this heavily traveled urban freeway system in the Houston Texas metro area. The system includes 99 centerline miles of limited access roadway, 40 interchanges, toll plazas, operations facilities and other ancillary assets necessary to keep the system functioning. Maintenance activities range from mowing, litter control, lighting, sweeping, lane washing and drainage cleaning to plaza and barrier wall painting and lane pressure washing. Under this unit cost contract. Support to the client and local law enforcement for such activities as maintenance-of-traffic and detouring are also within the scope. Jorgensen performs most of the work activities using in-house resources. This project calls for close coordination between the client and the contractor in order to perform the necessary routine maintenance while at the same time responding to client special requirements and conditions that vary over time. Jorgensen as set up a work program and budget for the routine maintenance items such as mowing and pressure washing that the client can follow and monitor during the course of the fiscal year.
Benefits: Prior to contracting with Jorgensen, HCTRA was outsourcing only portions of the maintenance work effort with one-year contracts. This required a high level of contract management resources and constant monitoring. With a single source for many of the routine maintenance activities, the client now knows how much with work will cost over the budget year period and has some assurance that it will get done according to their specifications. In addition, HCTRA has the ability through the unit price portion of the contract to direct specific work in a timely manner, while being able to have a reasonable idea of how much any activity will cost. As the prime contractor, Jorgensen has the responsibility to perform, oversee and monitor all the work within the contract scope. This means that the client no longer has to follow-up and make changes or adjustments to the work force should there be a problem with either it’s own resources or a specialty subcontract. Savings to the client have not been quantified, as there is no ability to make parallel comparisons between the clients own program and that of Jorgensen. However, since HCTRA has exercised its option to extend the existing Jorgensen contract for the full five-year term, they appear to be satisfied with both the quality of the maintenance as well as the cost. At the same time, Jorgensen has experienced a modest profit from this contract.
Disadvantages:The requirements of the contract call for and annual review of the contractor performance and pricing in order to decide on the option of extending the work for another year. This is too short a time frame for the contractor to maintain consistency in his work program and to enter into any longer range planning for some maintenance activities. A more appropriate time frame would be a three-year contract with two-two year options, or even longer. The procedure for review and approval of the directed work effort could be shortened to enable both the client and contractor to respond more aggressively to the specific maintenance requirements.
Lessons Learned and Suggestions: Setting of priorities among various client staff can be problematic with regard to special work verses routine maintenance versus incidents/accidents. Client needs to filter all priorities through one person/office to ensure good communication with contractor and minimum disruption of contractor’s scheduled short-term work.
References—documents or personnel: David Williamson, 904/360-5200, david.williamson@dot.state.fl.us