Going the Extra Mile to Connect a Community
Celena Shepherd, Communications
August 09, 2022
Going above and beyond for our clients and the communities we serve is a fundamental trait of Olsson employees. Sometimes, that means literally going the extra mile to make sure a community member’s pet is well fed.
Roadway improvements in Sarpy County, located just south of Omaha, Nebraska, which is the state’s largest city, included road closures that affected a neighborhood and complicated dog food deliveries for one resident. Olsson technical leader Tony Egelhoff coordinated directly with the resident and the delivery company to help find a solution.
Details do not fall through the cracks when Tony is on the job – from overcoming unexpected obstacles to managing multimillion-dollar projects. It’s one of the reasons Sarpy County feels confident having Tony serve as project manager for our work with the county.
Rapid westward expansion and the demand for new development meant it was time for Sarpy County to invest millions to provide safe transportation access for current and future residents. The initiative, coined the West Sarpy Program, adds and rehabilitates nine square miles of county roads.
“The CONNECTSarpy – West Sarpy Program is the largest package of road projects in county history,” said Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly. “We’re investing in an entire section of the county that is already bursting with development. This is an aggressive effort, and well on its way to better connecting our residents to neighborhoods, schools and businesses.”
Sarpy County needed a trusted engineer with expert solutions and a proven track record of success to design the project. That’s where we came in.
County officials selected Olsson to provide a multidisciplinary array of services: survey, roadway and bridge design, traffic engineering, environmental permitting and planning, special inspections, and geotechnical services. As we got deeper into the project, our role expanded to include program management.
“In the program management role, we not only manage our designs and projects but incorporate all these other county transportation projects that are ongoing and planned,” Tony said. “We help simplify it for the county and try to minimize the disruption to the public.”
Sarpy County anticipates approximately 75 projects during the next six fiscal years to improve the access, mobility, and safety of its existing transportation network totaling nearly $200 million. Seven of those projects fall within the West Sarpy Program and add up to more than $65 million in improvements.
We worked closely with the county to create a brand; CONNECTSarpy, to make it easier for county officials to track and communicate the transportation projects to the public. The brand includes a logo, a full website, and social media pages. The CONNECTSarpy website simplifies ongoing projects and allows residents to provide feedback on ongoing work.
Olsson’s multimedia team regularly adds videos, photos, and interactive maps to showcase construction progress. A timelapse video of a bridge-deck pour has thousands of views, said Stacey Roach, Olsson’s public engagement senior coordinator.
“I think there is a certain level of appreciation people have for knowing what’s going on before it happens,” she said. “Public engagement has evolved to meet people where they are, which has opened a lot of opportunities. We think it’s the right thing to do.”
Stacey helps manage website updates and CONNECTSarpy social media pages. She regularly communicates with Tony, the client, and project partners to answer community members’ questions and post updates online.
“We want to keep the website simple so people can get updates and information that has a consistent message,” Stacey said. “This area is being developed and more people are moving here, so this is a good way for people to check in and know the route to get home or take kids to school.”
The West Sarpy Program not only provides new, efficient transportation to the public but also uses a new approach to do so. The roadway program is the first in Nebraska to use the construction manager general contractor (CMGC) project delivery method. So, how does this work?
The CMGC approach allows the client to contract an engineer and a contractor independently; the engineer and contractor will then work together to find the best solutions for a project. The CMGC method can simplify complex projects and optimize scheduling and efficiency in design. We work closely with Sarpy County to execute transportation projects and get the job done right.
“We felt the CMGC approach was best because it helps us meet the client's needs from design to program management to budget tracking and more,” Tony said. “We have that good relationship and trust with the county, so it was exciting to have this responsibility.”
The CMGC method also allows construction to be divided and mixed into different work packages instead of coordinating several smaller projects. We assisted the county in splitting the roadway program into four main construction packages to create the modern, well-planned road network more efficiently.
We are performing construction administration and working with Hawkins Construction, the prime contractor, to communicate plans, stages of roadways, permitting, utility relocations, and other project details.
Though some phases of the West Sarpy Program are completed and open to traffic, full completion is expected in late 2023. Project updates are available at CONNECTSarpy.com.