MDT Quartz Flats Rest Area Design-Build

Mission Critical was enlisted to support Dick Anderson Construction (DAC) and their partner, WGM Engineering (WGM), in developing a technical proposal as part of the second phase of this MDT Alternative Delivery Design-Build pursuit. By leading a rapid and intensive planning, writing, and revisioning process over a short 3.5 weeks, Mission Critical helped DAC earn a shortlist position. Mission Critical then prepared DAC/WGM for the MDT Design-Build interview, helping position them as the best-value contractor to secure the $8.8M win through a combination of technical approach and price.


This vertical construction project will reconstruct the existing dual-facility Quartz Flats Rest Area to better serve the traveling public along westbound and eastbound Interstate 90. The design proposed by the WGM team meets current and future user demand based on MDT’s projections of facility usage and corridor growth to an average daily traffic rate of over 8,000 vehicles by 2040. At present, the Quartz Flats facilities are busiest during summer travel peaks and winter weather sheltering, and the existing site has insufficient truck parking for such events. Vital elements of WGM’s design include wastewater systems with increased capacity and improved treatment capabilities, expanded truck parking, and upgraded building and restroom facilities to support traveler needs while meeting MDT’s Vision Zero program.

This Design-Build project was a Best Value procurement from MDT, meaning MDT evaluated qualifications, experience, and capacity of the firms in addition to a price proposal. Over three stages, the DAC/WGM team provided a Statement of Qualifications, a Statement of Proposal and Price Proposal, and finally interviewed with the MDT selection committee. MDT weighed the qualifications with cost to select the best partner to complete the project to their goals and standards.

Technical Approach

Typically on Design-Build pursuits, Mission Critical partners with clients before the agency’s issuance of the Alternative Delivery project to allow our teams ample development time. We then pursue each phase in tandem with our client team. On this project, Mission Critical joined the team as Pursuit Manager eight weeks into Phase II, after MDT had already shortlisted the DAC/WGM team.

On Design-Build or Progressive Design-Build pursuits, technical and narrative writing, document editing, graphic and page design, proofing, and compliance are typically led by the engineering team. As Pursuit Managers, Mission Critical shoulders that scope and positively changes this dynamic by focusing the client’s efforts on developing winning ideas, approaches, and plans.

On Notice to Proceed from Dick Anderson Construction, Mission Critical immediately mobilized to interview and gain status updates from individual team members. Very much like a site visit in the field, this effort helped our team create a risk assessment for the pursuit overall. This assessment was integral to customizing our initial work plan to ensure the development of a winning Technical Proposal in 3.5 weeks.

Over the next week, Mission Critical’s technical writing group used targeted development meetings, focus groups, and individual collaboration to garner insights into the DAC/WGM team’s status and progress. It was apparent that WGM had developed a solid technical approach and preliminary design package. Still, the team was challenged to translate these innovations, ideas, and approaches into a cohesive, high-scoring narrative given the limited time remaining before the submission deadline.

Through rapid and daily collaboration, Mission Critical set about codifying key elements of the team’s approach. We specifically detailed how the team’s local Montana experience, Design-Build processes, and previous lessons learned on similar work helped demonstrate their qualifications as a collaborative partner to MDT.

Mission Critical also played an essential role in helping the team to catalyze and clarify innovations, betterments, and value-added approaches for this project. DAC/WGM had incorporated significant value engineering opportunities into the preliminary design. Still, the team had challenges categorizing, narrating, and defining betterments in process and delivery unique to the firms. Mission Critical framed team discussions around MDT’s goals for the project and applicability to MDT’s Vision Zero plan to facilitate rapid resolution. Through near-daily focus groups, Mission Critical successfully differentiated these benefits in the team’s approach. Our writing group then clearly and concisely created value narratives key to the team’s strong scoring position with the MDT selection committee.


This project is an excellent example of how a high-scoring technical proposal can offset a higher price proposal in a competitive, Design-Build scoring model. As Pursuit Managers, Mission Critical’s efforts allowed the design and construction team members to focus on developing, vetting, and finalizing the design, innovations, and overall approach. Mission Critical’s team successfully translated complex material into scorable, readable content in a highly compressed timeframe. As a result, the team’s Design-Build Technical Proposal outscored the competition by 3,000 points, or 4.5% of the total points allotted. This strong scoring for the Technical Proposal overcame the team’s higher overall bid price, securing Dick Anderson/WGM as the Apparent Best Value contractor and winning them this critical $8.8M MDT Alternative Delivery Design-Build win.

Construction is set to begin in February 2021 and will complete by July 2022.

Key Information

Alternative Delivery Experts

Great pursuits and winning proposals require amazing ideas, the right people, and the grit to get the job done.

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