Many cities and counties have funded feasibility studies related to large public projects scheduled for 2021. This analysis serves as a tool for governments to assess the viability and need for a significant capital investment. Based on the multitude of studies approved or already underway, the coming year will offer numerous contracting opportunities – even in less populated parts of various states. Here’s a sampling of some of the upcoming projects.


Marys column Dumfries Civic Learning Center rendering 300x211 Studies underway point to large public projects in 2021In 2021 the town of Dumfries plans to spend $34,438 to conduct a feasibility study to explore the creation of a Civic Learning Center in the Williamstown/Town Square area. The study will focus on a community facility equipped with internet access, meeting space, study rooms, computer labs, and a coffee shop. The city plans to spend another $30,000 for a study and a public outreach campaign for a new street plan for Williamstown Drive. This project will include widening the median, enhancing the landscaping, expanding roadside parking, and adding lighting, pedestrian crossings, and traffic calming measures.


Agawam officials have ordered a feasibility study for a new public safety complex, estimated to cost $30 million. The project will include construction of a multi-use facility which will include the existing town hall as well as police and fire station structures. It will include other office space, conference rooms, meeting space for boards and commissions, bathroom and locker facilities, firefighter training areas, and an area for custody and oversight of individuals in police custody.


New Mexico
A firm has been selected to deliver a three-phase study to identify a location and estimate funding for a new stadium in Albuquerque. A maximum of 100 days has been allocated for the study which is related to a new entertainment venue. The mayor has said he is leaning toward a public-private partnership engagement.

Project plans outline a 10,500- to 15,000-seat multi-purpose stadium with a natural grass field designed for professional soccer. The facility may include an art/cultural center component that could house a variety of exhibits and community events along with some commercial/retail space.


Hamilton County has completed a feasibility study for a bridge to replace the Western Hills Viaduct structure. The feasibility study recommends an extradosed bridge but outlines other bridge types that could be considered. An extradosed bridge has a cable attached to the main tower to reinforce the bridge’s girders. County officials announced that $134 million of the $335 million project’s funding has been confirmed. Additionally, in conjunction with the new bridge project, construction of a new interchange with Interstate 75 is planned.  Cost estimates for that project are $175 million which will come from the Ohio Department of Transportation.


Washington state
The counties of Benton and Franklin partnered to conduct a $50,000 feasibility study on a 1950s-era hospital in Kennewick. The counties plan to transform the former Kennewick General Hospital into what will become the Two Rivers Rehabilitation Center. The two-part study was structured to assist the hospital district as it reacquires a property it once owned and transforms it for new use. Approximately $6 million will be required for the planned renovations.


Oakland county officials have allocated $1 million for a feasibility study for construction of a new state-of-the-art, high-security law enforcement facility. The project will include a building that could house the sheriff office’s dispatch center, a regional force training center, the sheriff’s office operations center, and the county’s 911 emergency operations center. The 105,000-square-foot project’s estimated cost is $59.5 million.


The city of Oak Ridge has plans for a new general aviation airport, and a contractor has been chosen for a $380,740 environmental study. The land selected for the new airport is near the former site of the K-25 building which was part of the Manhattan Project to provide enriched uranium for the world’s first atomic bomb. Funding is anticipated from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Tennessee Aeronautics Department. A total estimated cost for the airport project is $55 million.


Commissioners in Leavenworth County are considering the funding of a study, at a cost of about $100,000, for the Eastern Gateway project. The county needs to construct a roadway connection from Leavenworth County to Missouri 152 Highway in Platte County. Additionally, a bridge to cross the Missouri River will be required. An earlier study estimated the project’s costs could exceed $250 million, and county officials are considering another potential routing option. A public-private partnership engagement is under consideration.


North Dakota
The Ward County Commission recently issued a solicitation for an engineering firm to design a replacement bridge over the Souris River. Design work should be completed along with an environmental study by the summer of 2021. The new structure is expected to be at least 50 feet longer than the previous bridge that collapsed.


Moffat County Commissioners approved a $120,000 feasibility study related to the consolidation of a number of county facilities, including the courthouse. The study was completed, and two alternatives were suggested. One option outlined a plan to spend approximately $45.5 million to renovate and extend the existing courthouse. Another option suggested moving all the facilities into another building, but this plan would include an expenditure of more than $25 million to purchase the building. The county plans to consolidate the courthouse, Department of Human Services building, and county extension facilities.


Competition is rarely as intense in less populated areas of the country, and there is no lack of diversity in the projects that are on the drawing boards of cities and counties. Private sector contractors of all types will be in high demand as solicitation documents are released in the new year.

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Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.