The City of Chandler completed its extensive Germann Road reconstruction project well under budget and ahead of schedule, thanks to innovative contracting and engineering practices. Photo: Jim Phipps

“This was the city's first major project to use the construction manager-at-risk contracting method,” said Patterson. “This project showed the value of a team approach with the project owners, designer, and contractor. There were considerable cost and time savings by involving the construction contractor early in the design process.”

“Value engineering” led to savings of more than $230,000 on the project. Responding to changes in ductile iron prices, the city switched to concrete pipe for the sewer lines. Also, Chandler realized earthwork savings by offering excess material to private developers looking for fill material.

In addition to encouraging extensive project involvement by its staff, the city also stresses the importance of constituent relations, informing its citizens of developments through a range of avenues and encouraging them to voice their opinions.

“Chandler has an extensive stakeholder process to involve constituents in all major construction projects,” said Patterson. “The city conducts citizen academies twice each year to educate residents on all city functions. We have developed an INFOMAP on the city Web site that identifies all major city facilities and projects that may affect new home buyers. The city prepares and broadcasts a ‘Public Works at Work' video that is shown on the local cable channel.”

Funding operations in the face of constant growth required creative thinking. In 1997, the city instituted a comprehensive impact fee program for water, wastewater, arterial streets, libraries, police facilities, fire facilities, reclaimed water, and general government; these fees generate revenue to pay for all growth-related investments. Additionally, to protect newly constructed pavement, the city uses an aggressive pavement restoration fee program.