Client
SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT)
Location
Horry County, SC, U.S.

Conway Bypass Highway - Construction

Fluor provided accelerated fast-track design and construction services for a 28.5-mile controlled-access highway in Horry County, northeast of Conway, South Carolina.

Conway Bypass is the first design-build project of South Carolina's Partners-in-Progress program designed to accelerate the completion of five significant projects within the state.

The project was the South Carolina Department of Transportation's (SCDOT) first public-private partnership (PPP) and the state's largest design-build project.

The Fluor team's dedicated effort allowed the project to achieve 2.6 million effort hours without a single lost-time accident, a record that ranks this project as one of the safest major transportation projects in the United States.

Despite three disruptive hurricanes and a number of sensitive environmental issues, requiring special construction methods, the 28.5-mile project was delivered seven months ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget.



Client's Challenge

SCDOT required a bypass constructed to alleviate traffic congestion into the Myrtle Beach area, a popular tourist destination and to provide a disaster evacuation route from the hurricane prone area. The project was the first major public-private partnership to be constructed in South Carolina and the first project funded by the State Infrastructure Bank, established by the South Carolina General Assembly.

The Conway Bypass project was comprised of more than 60 bridges and 6 interchanges constructed through 28.5 miles of wetlands. The project team included three engineering/design firms, three earthwork contractors, two bridge contractors, two paving contractors, two inspection / testing firms, and a land acquisition firm.

The project attracted a high level of public interest for a number of reasons. Among these were the unconventional approach to funding, the potential environmental issues, the impact of the highway on tourism, and the requirements for the highway to serve as an evacuation route. State and local officials, as well as business owners and residents, required that project information be accessible and that be a mechanism for providing continual updates on the project status.

Keeping the local community informed contributed to the success of Conway Bypass. Fluor established a website during the project to keep all stakeholders informed of project progress, upcoming construction activities, quarterly newsletters, daily road closure reports, and environmental issues.



Fluor's Solution

Fluor served as the design-build project manager on the State of South Carolina's first PPP project. The company was responsible for providing a fast-track approach to construct the highway while working closely with state and local officials, businesses, and residents of the area. The Conway By-Pass was comprised of more than 60 bridges and six interchanges constructed through more than 300 acres of wetlands.

Fluor coordinated the design effort and provided permitting, land acquisition, and construction management services. Fluor maintained the project schedule, managed multiple contractors, managed the quality assurance / quality control (QA/QC) program, traffic control, utility relocation, community relations, safety, and worked with the disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program.

Fluor implemented several innovative approaches during the project that saved money and reduced the overall schedule. The Fluor project team initiated a value-engineering program that over the course of the project resulted in a reduction of $50 million in total project cost.

Fluor worked closely with state and federal agencies to reclassify certain areas as minimally productive wetlands, thereby eliminating approximately five miles of bridges, which reduced the total project cost. Other innovations included use of partnering sessions with SCDOT, geo-grid materials to reduce excavations, Grade Positioning System (GPS) for grading control, use of precast, post-tensioned flat slap bridges, superpave asphalt, and a paperless project concept.

Fluor used innovative construction methods to ensure that the environmental sensitivities were addressed. The project team supported and worked closely with Clemson University's monitoring of black bear migrations through the region. Mindful of the regions delicate surroundings, Fluor used a “top down” construction approach for building more than 60 mainline bridges spanning wetlands, a railway, and the Waccamaw River. Here, the bridges were constructed using cranes supported by a temporary trestle positioned between the east and westbound bridges, minimizing the impact to the environment below.



Conclusion

Fluor successfully completed the first PPP in the State of South Carolina by using innovative construction approaches, a partnering philosophy with the SCDOT, and open communications with all stakeholders.

Working closely with the state, local communities, and subcontractors, Fluor delivered the Conway Bypass project seven months ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. These objectives were achieved despite disruptions by three hurricanes and dealing with sensitive environmental issues that required special construction techniques.

The project received numerous national and state awards for safety performance, execution excellence, and quality, while focusing on the sensitive environmental issues of constructing the highway over acres of wetlands. The Conway Bypass transportation project received Fluor's Hugh Coble Project Excellence Award in 2001. The award is given based on outstanding performance in several areas; including safety, value creation, and Client and community relations.

Veteran's Highway, as the road is now called, links North Myrtle Beach at Highway 17 to U.S. Route 501 in Conway. Veteran's Highway now serves as a major hurricane evacuation route for the Grand Strand region.