Bidding of Accelerated Bridge Construction Projects: Case Studies and Consensus Building

Link to Latest Report: September 2019 Progress Report

Case Studies

Background:
Accelerated bridge construction (ABC) is the solution of choice to upgrade substandard bridges, while maintaining traffic flow and optimizing safety through work zones. However, the perception of higher construction costs for ABC versus conventional construction continues in spite of numerous ABC projects having lower construction costs relative to conventional construction. This inaccurate perception and the fear of cost overruns are causing some bridge owners to be hesitant about using ABC technologies, especially those technologies related to bridge system moves which can provide the greatest benefit for safety and traffic flow impacts.

Whether to use ABC for a specific project needs to be decided at the project development stage. Research is needed to assist state DOTs in identifying how best to set up bid items and the bid process within their agencies to be able to effectively document ABC costs for prefabricated bridge element construction and also bridge system moves including lateral slides, longitudinal launches, and self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) moves. This project will focus upon consensus building of bid items used for ABC projects to allow for cost-based decisions regarding ABC implementation to be made.

Objective:
The proposed research project will consist of a thorough exploration of current bidding methods for ABC projects. This will be accomplished via surveys, case studies, content analysis, interviews, documentation and observations, as outlined in the following sections. It is anticipated that this effort will coincide with a separate research project regarding contracting methods for ABC projects. This overlap in research tasks will allow for an avoidance of the duplication of work via combined information collection efforts for both bidding and contracting methods.

Scope:
The following tasks will be performed to achieve the project objective:

  • Task 1 – Literature Review:  The main objective of this task is to obtain an exhaustive understanding of current bidding methods used for accelerated construction, with an emphasis on their associated cost effects.
  • Task 2 – Information Collection:  Task 2 will involve survey responses and interviews to collect pertinent information from state and local governments, as well as consultants/contractors when possible and beneficial, with respect to ABC project information. This project information will include bidding and contracting methods, as well as closure time determination processes. The results of this information collection will also be incorporated into project-specific case studies.
  • Task 3 – Summary of Successful Practices:  The efforts associated with Tasks 1 and 2 will be summarized to highlight those methods deemed most successful in past ABC projects. It is anticipated that this effort will allow for the portrayal of lessons learned, and suggested best practices for the bidding and advertising of future ABC projects.
  • Task 4 – Final Report:  The project findings from the previously identified tasks will be prepared by means of a final report.

Research Team:
Principal Investigator:  Dr. Katelyn Freeseman
Co-Principal Investigator:  Dr. Jennifer Shane
Research Assistant:

Previous Progress Reports: