NTMWD Named ENR Texas & Louisiana Owner of the Year

Congratulations to our client North Texas Municipal Water District for being selected as ENR Texas & Louisiana Owner of the Year, in large part for its efforts on Bois d’Arc Lake, the $1.6 billion program to provide a new drinking water source for residents of a fast-growing 10-county area of far North Texas.

The Bois d’Arc Lake program, centered on the first major Texas reservoir built in almost 30 years, is larger and more complex than anything NTMWD had previously delivered, ENR’s story notes: The District has worked with a program manager (Freese and Nichols), 10 consultants, a design-builder, four construction management-at-risk (CMAR) contracts delivering 67 work packages and eight utility relocation agreements.

NTMWD has been formally planning Bois d’Arc Lake since 2003, and more than 600 Freese and Nichols staff members have devoted hundreds of thousands of hours to multiple aspects of the program, including design, management, planning, permitting and other aspects.

Here’s part of what “Meeting the Water Needs of a Growing Texas Region” says about Freese and Nichols’ involvement:

Fort Worth-based Freese & Nichols has been intimately involved with the project from its earliest stages. The company assisted the water district with the initial planning and cost estimates and then took over as the project manager when funding and permitting were obtained. The firm handled a great deal of the design effort as well as management and assistance with required permitting.

Given the sheer size of the Bois d’Arc program as well as its definite start and end point, it made sense to bring Freese & Nichols on board to help the district handle it, explains Cesar Baptista, the deputy director of engineering for NTMWD.

“They had all the expertise, mechanical, electrical, civil, [and] they had some environmental permitting, construction management services, inspection services,” he says. “They provided a full range of services that was able to meet the project’s needs.”

The arrangement also freed up the district to handle the additional $1.8 billion inventory of projects it had undertaken over the last five years while the Bois d’Arc effort was in full swing.

Jeff Payne, Freese & Nichols’ chief operating officer, has worked on the project since the beginning. He was part of the team that helped NTMWD navigate the permitting phase and led the effort when the district named the firm the program manager. He attributes the project’s success to establishing a core team early on and continuing to develop its expertise over the life of the project.

“One thing that has been rewarding for us from a consultant standpoint is that we’ve had a seat at the table,” he says. “It’s just a great collaborative environment that they created with the contractors and designers. We’ve all got that common goal in mind.”

Freese and Nichols’ relationship as a trusted advisor with NTMWD spans more than four decades and includes work on multiple award-winning projects to help the District keep up with explosive growth in the region, including the Trinity River Main Stem Water Supply and Lake Texoma-to-Wylie Connection.

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