Although they became a political issue in Virginia recently, Project Labor Agreements (PLA) are commonly used throughout the country on major construction projects to improve safety, ensure amicable labor labor relations and avoid work stoppages.
The Express Lanes on I-495 are being built under a PLA as is Phase I of the Silver Line through Tyson’s to Reston. And now, I-95 HOT Lanes prime contractor Fluor-Lane 95, LLC has signed a project labor agreement with the Northern Virginia affiliate of the Laborersâ€™ International Union of North America (LiUNA!) for the almost $1 billion project.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell objected to the use of a PLA for construction of Phase II from Reston to Dulles Airport, setting off a controversy that has dogged the troubled project for more than a year.
The Fluor-Lane 95 signature comes after the majority of laborers and construction specialists on the project chose LiUNA! as their collective bargaining representative. The project labor agreement defines the wages, working conditions, and work schedules for each segment of the work, as well as providing a pipeline of skilled craft labor for the project.
The 95 HOT Lanes will add or connect high-occupancy toll lanes along I-95 in traffic-congested parts of Virginia. Work on the project will last approximately two and a half years. The laborers will be working primarily on the site development and concrete construction work segments of the project.
“PLAs are a common sense tool to control costs and keep projects on track. Dulles Metrorail Silver Line Phase I was successfully built under a PLA. The I-495 HOT Lanes project was successfully built under a PLA. Again and again, we see PLA projects delivered on time and on-budget, so I have every confidence that the I-95 HOT Lanes will also be successful under this PLA,” said Dennis L. Martire, Vice President and Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager of the Laborers International Union of North America.
Martire was, until yesterday, a member of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). He resigned under pressure from McDonnell under terms of a confidential settlement reached after months of litigation.
Martire has good reason to expect success from this PLA project. Construction on the I-95 HOT Lanesâ€™ sister project, the I-495 HOT Lanes, was completed under a similar PLA. The earlier project had an excellent safety record and was completed six months ahead of schedule, in large part due to the work schedules and working conditions negotiated under the PLA.
Laborers working on the $1 billion I-95 HOT Lanes project will help construct HOV lanes from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road in Stafford County; add another HOV lane on the 14-mile stretch of I-95 between Prince William Parkway to Edsall Road, two miles shy of the Springfield Interchange, upgrade the HOV lanes between Route 234 and the Prince William Parkway, connect I-95 to the HOV/HOT Lanes on the Capital Beltway and to Tysons Corner; and connect the Capital Beltway 495 and the new I-95 HOV lanes.