When the rebuilding of the Pentagon began following 9/11, there was an unprecedented commitment from the Washington-area construction community to see the work completed in just one year—requiring teamwork and a tenacious resolve to meet the challenging deadline. That spirit of determination carried over to many related Pentagon renovation projects, including the design and construction of the new Virginia Route 110 Bypass, which improved security and traffic flow adjacent to the landmark government structure along the Potomac.

We were teamed with Facchina Construction on the design-build project, which involved realignment of a 3,500-foot section of Route 110. The heavily-traveled highway had previously passed beneath the Pentagon’s ceremonial River Terrace, and was deemed a security risk. In addition to the six-lane highway relocation, which increased standoff distance between vehicles and the Pentagon, we designed a new vehicular bridge, two pedestrian bridges, parking lots, site roads, and retaining walls.

Working closely with Facchina and the Pentagon Renovation & Construction Program Office, we were able to deliver this complex infrastructure project in only 22 months, with the roadway opening to traffic in June 2004. The process involved partnering, the development of carefully staged construction packages, and expedited plan review, aided by speedy cooperation from the Virginia Department of Transportation, which assumed operation of the bypass upon completion. And when unexpected challenges arose during excavation—such as unstable soils and unrecorded underground utilities—the design and construction team avoided time-consuming ownership investigations and relocation by quickly redesigning impacted elements.

In short, we were determined. As a result, the work was completed within the accelerated schedule and on budget, ultimately earning an award as an outstanding transportation project from the Design-Build Institute of America and perfect performance ratings from the Pentagon Renovation staff. The Route 110 Bypass, like many projects that took place in response to 9/11, raised the bar in terms of teamwork, problem-solving, and the spirit of cooperation. The process certainly showed the advantages of design-build at its best. Many trusted relationships and friendships were built during those challenging months, along with a better understanding of how much we can achieve when we really work together.