I-80 PEL Study Earns Recognition from SAVE International

Awards, Projects | June 07, 2024


Photo of Chuck Bartlett and Craig Mielke, of Benesch, holding the 2024 SAVE Award that was given to the I-80 PEL study during the 2024 SAVE International conference

SARPY COUNTY, NE – At the 2024 SAVE International Value Summit, the I-80 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study was recognized by the organization for its outstanding achievements. The Benesch-led study received the 2024 Gordon Frank Outstanding Accomplishment in Government Award, which recognizes teams, corporations, or government accomplishments in expanding the use of VE throughout the industry.

This PEL study was the first to be completed in the Omaha Metro area and only the second in Nebraska. It examined the needs to relieve safety and capacity deficiencies at the existing interchanges along I-80 between Nebraska Highway 31 and Nebraska Highway 370, accommodate greater truck and vehicular mobility, and support existing and planned economic development in the area. Additional concerns, including the safeguarding of environmental resources, were also addressed by the team.

“The innovative application of Value Planning used in the PEL strengthened the alternatives analysis by capturing and applying performance and acceptance metrics in the NEPA process, thereby expanding the practice of Value Methodology” said Benesch Project Manager Craig Mielke.

The study resulted in two alternatives being recommended to move into Preliminary Design and NEPA.  As a result of the study’s forward thinking and collaborative approach, it has earned numerous awards, including a Planning Excellence Award from the Nebraska Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NE), as well as a Merit Award from the Nebraska Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).

Mike Helgerson, Executive Director for the Omaha Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) said of the study “Benesch’s team helped the local partners successfully navigate a changing landscape of state and federal guidance related to the PEL study. Ultimately, the high-quality deliverables of this project have provided the decision support for NDOT to advance the interchange towards completion.”

Benesch was recently selected to lead the Preliminary Design and NEPA phase of the project which also includes preparing an Interchange Justification Report (IJR) as well as conducting public outreach, and ultimately, Final Design for the chosen interchange. Learn more about the project here.