Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Innovative contracting

Innovative contracting methods

Construction Manager / General Contractor

Construction Manager / General Contractor (CMGC) is an integrated approach to planning, designing and constructing a project. Owners, designers and contractors work collaboratively to develop the project scope, optimize the design, improve quality and manage cost. 

CMGC is an innovative delivery method that allows MnDOT to hire a construction contractor early in a project's design phase to serve as a "construction manager," advising MnDOT and MnDOT's designer. In this role, the contractor provides, among other services, input on constructability, risk, cost and schedule during the project's design phase. Once the design is nearing completion, the contractor is given an opportunity to provide a bid to MnDOT to construct the project. If the contractor's bid is acceptable to MnDOT, the contractor then enters into a construction contract with MnDOT to serve as the "general contractor."

The intent of the CMGC delivery method is to allow for an integrated approach to planning, designing and constructing a project. MnDOT works collaboratively with the designer (consultant or MnDOT staff), builder (contractor) and stakeholders during a project's design phase to develop a plan to meet the project goals and avoid pitfalls that can lead to schedule delays and increased costs during construction. This collaborative process makes CMGC well suited to unique and/or complex projects with significant risk. Although CMGC projects represent a small number (about one per year) of the projects MnDOT delivers, they can be relatively large.

CMGC is considered an alternative delivery process to the standard design-bid-build process where the builder is not involved until the construction phase of the project.


  • Fosters innovation: Collaboration with contractor during design
  • Cost/budget management: Contractors provide real-time cost information during design
  • Design control: MnDOT retains control of the design
  • Reduce risk: Construction risks mitigated collaboratively during design
  • Improved constructability: Design only includes features that can be built
  • Reduces time: Early contractor input and the ability to overlap design and construction
  • Reduces cost: Innovation, value engineering, risk mitigation and design efficiencies
  • Increases on-time completion and budget certainty: Early contractor input minimizes changes/surprises


  • Construction price is negotiated: MnDOT and contractor must reach agreement on a fair and reasonable construction price.
  • Relatively new: Some owners, designers and contractors have no experience with CMGC and/or a limited understanding of it.


The CMGC process typically begins in the project's scoping or preliminary design phase. Once a project is designated CMGC, MnDOT issues a Request for Proposals to interested CMGC firms. The firms are then evaluated based on their qualifications, experience and approach to the project. The evaluation may also include a price component. Once selected, the CMGC enters into a professional/technical services contract with MnDOT to serve as a construction manager during the design. Tasks under this contract include constructability reviews, risk assessments, construction cost estimates and schedules at various design milestones. Other tasks include value engineering, construction engineering and assisting with third party (e.g. utilities, railroad) coordination.

As the design is finalized, the CMGC submits a bid to MnDOT to construct the project. An independent cost estimate and a MnDOT engineer's estimate are completed to validate whether the CMGC's bid is fair/reasonable. If the bid is determined fair/reasonable, the CMGC enters into a construction contract with MnDOT. MnDOT and the CMGC also have the option to negotiate and construct smaller work packages within the project. For example, the CMGC may see a need to purchase materials with long lead times, e.g. steel, or to establish construction access in advance of the larger project. This contract mechanism shortens the project schedule and/or reduces cost by advancing these project components before the larger project begins. If MnDOT and the CMGC are unable to reach price agreement, MnDOT reserves the right to competitively bid the project work. The CMGC is then allowed to bid along with other competitors

In 2012, the Minnesota Legislature enacted Minnesota Statute 161.3207 to Minnesota Statute 161.3209 authorizing MnDOT to use the construction manager/general contractor (CMGC) delivery method. The 2012 law authorized MnDOT to award up to four CMGC projects in any calendar year, not to exceed 10 total CMGC projects. In 2021, as MnDOT approached the 10 total CMGC projects allowed, state statute was updated to allow for an additional 10 CMGC projects, bringing the total number of allowable CMGC projects to 20.

Policy and laws

Program notes

Project Location Status Documents
Hwy 10 Grade Separation Hwy 10/11th Street in Moorhead In design Hwy 10/75 in Moorhead RFP (PDF)
Hwy 169 Redefine Hwy 169 from Hwy 10 to 197th Avenue in Elk River In construction Hwy 169 in Elk River RFP (PDF)
Third Avenue Bridge Hwy 65 (Third Avenue) over Mississippi River in Minneapolis In construction Third Avenue Bridge RFP (PDF)
Stormwater Storage Facility I-35W near 42nd Street in Minneapolis In construction I-35W Stormwater Storage RFP (PDF)
Twin Ports Interchange I-35/I-535/Hwy 53 in Duluth In construction Twin Ports Interchange RFP (PDF)
Winona Bridge Hwy 43 over Mississippi River in Winona Substantially complete Winona Bridges RFQ (PDF)
Winona Bridges RFP (PDF)
Hwy 53 Relocation Hwy 53 in Virginia Complete Hwy 53 Relocation RFP (PDF)
High Bridge Hwy 149 (Smith Avenue) over Mississippi River in St. Paul Complete Smith Avenue High Bridge RFP (PDF)