The Challenge

The ADOT Design-Build Loop 101 Price Freeway Improvement project showcased the value that a commitment to partnering provides on complex design and construction projects. From the start of design in May of 2019 through final completion in September of 2020, a number of situations arose with the potential to derail the project had partnering not been utilized.

Pulice Construction and AECOM formed the design-build team, with ADOT engaging Kimley Horn as their General Engineering Consultant (GEC). This team committed to the partnering process immediately upon the Notice to Proceed (NTP) and relied upon the project charter to guide the decision-making process and focus on achieving project goals from start to finish.

Safety and Quality

Throughout the project we used the Partnering Evaluation Performance (PEP) form as a tool to not only recognize areas needing improvement, but also to acknowledge successes.

The overall success of the project was the culmination of a series of small accomplishments or “wins” along the way. Accordingly, we utilized the comments section of the PEP to acknowledge and appreciate these small wins as the project progressed, specifically naming the teams and individuals who contributed. We reviewed these in our weekly construction meetings and monthly partnering meetings and reinforced what went well at our safety and pre-shift meetings.

Ultimately, Transportation Specialist Kyle Rinderknecht was recognized for his commitment to partnering on this project by being nominated and then awarded ADOT’s Partnering Spirit Award. According to Kyle, “this award is really a reflection of how well the entire project team worked together to find the best solutions for the project and the community we serve.”

Construction Practices

This freeway serves as a major traffic corridor for commuters, shoppers, tourists, and commerce; affecting both public and private stakeholders. Only through partnering were we able to effectively mitigate impacts to all these groups.

For example, the popular Chandler Fashion Mall had significant concerns about losing shoppers (particularly during the busy holiday season) to other venues because of restricted travel lanes. Although contractually we could close three lanes on Chandler Blvd for overhead Bridge construction, in the spirit of partnering we developed a solution that temporarily reduced lane widths – thereby allowing us to maintain the same number of original lanes, and performing the majority of the work during night-time hours. As such, travel times on Chandler Blvd were minimally impacted, and the regional economy unimpacted.

  • Maintenance of Traffic (MOT)

A further example of a partnering win is evidenced in what we called a “Sector Phasing” approach to ramp closures. Originally, the contract restricted ramp closures to nights and weekends, but ADOT was openminded to discussing an alternate ramp closure sequence where we would completely close on and off ramps at particular cross streets for 45-day windows. This allowed us to construct ramps in their entirety; improving quality, constructability and providing a “known traffic restriction” for an extended period. The benefit to the public of a “known traffic restriction” arose from being able to plan one’s commute for a prescribed period, as opposed to needing to adapt to different daily traffic restrictions or closures.


An important lesson learned on the project was to reach decisions as early as possible and to compromise, not only in the spirit of partnering but to advance the project and achieve the desired outcome. Often, holding your position because you believe it to be “right” is not in the best interest of the project. The longer final decisions are delayed, the more impact this indecision can have on the critical path, cost, or project closeout.

Together, from project development through construction, the Team successfully worked across multiple agencies and stakeholders in executing this unique and innovative project. Design, environmental clearances, and construction were delivered on time, and ahead of schedule. The 101 Price Road Freeway Team won the 2020 ADOT PARTNERING AWARD.