The state transportation department is now free to make greater use of a system hat it says will make roadbuilding more efficient.

The department has been allowed to use the design-build system on three pilot projects—the rebuilding of I-64/Highway 40 in the St.Louis area; the "safe and sound" bridge improvement program, and the Paseo Bridge project in Kansas City.

The new law passed this year lets the department use the system on about ten projects a year if it wishes.

Design-build lets contractors bid as teams with their own designers, engineers, and suppliers instead of having the department design a project and bid it out. Program Delivery Director Dave Nichols says the system lets contractors exercise their creativity.

Nichols says the design-build system works best on large projects. He says the department has nothing ready for design-build right now but if it gets federal recovery money to add two truck lanes each way to Interstate 70–that would probably be a design-build project.