April 13, 1998

Local News

City chooses engineering firm

     by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--CH2M Hill was recently chosen by Woodinville as its consultant for on-call engineering services. City Manager Roy Rainey said the decision to go with a consultant over in-house design harks back to the philosophy that Woodinville is a contract city. Earlier this year, he had proposed consolidating engineering contracts.
   CH2M Hill, founded in Corvallis, Oregon in 1947, specializes in water, transportation and environmental issues. Rainey estimated the contract to be worth over $2 million this year and about the same in 1999. The city has 23 arterial street projects in various stages of design for 1998 alone and a surface water management plan to work on.
   Councilman Bob Miller, who said he was in favor of consolidation, said it would be more efficient to deal with one contractor instead of 20 or 30. "This gives us a better handle on all the projects going on," he said. Woodinville's Public Works department will now function as contract managers, Rainey said. A successor to Ron Cameron, the former department head whose February resignation was partly due to the consolidation, has yet to be named.
   Rainey, who noted major construction projects like regional transit, Seattle sports stadiums and street work will be occurring elsewhere in the Puget Sound basin, said it behooved the city to build a relationship with a single engineering firm rather than a number of contractors now. Woodinville is now determining what CH2M Hill's scope of work will include.
   The first step will be to inventory what maps the city has. Rainey said it was imperative to organize what information the city has and where the gaps are. City departments have operated on several different mapping software programs. Rainey likened the maps Woodinville has to a single article in a newspaper and said it was impossible to know what was going on elsewhere in town from a story on one subject.
   CH2M Hill's other task will be to provide accurate information for the City Council on the six-year Capital Improvement Plan and Transportation Improvement Plan. Both are up for adoption by the council in July.
   CH2M Hill, which had $937 million worth of gross revenue in 1996, employs 7,000 professionals at 120 locations worldwide. The firm beat out David Evans and Associates for the contract. About a half-dozen other companies had expressed interest. The name CH2M Hill reflects the initials of the founders, a teacher and his pupils, who formed the company after World War II.