The National Academies

NCHRP 10-60 [Completed]

Avoiding Delays in Constructing Highway Projects (CANCELED)

  Project Data
Effective Date: 1/1/1900
Completion Date: 1/1/1900

This project has been canceled. It was anticipated that a project statement (request for proposals) for this project would be issued in December 2001, however, NCHRP has determined that this research can best be done in part through existing research efforts sponsored by NCHRP. A portion of the funds allocated for Project 10-60 will be used to conduct research through existing research contracts with the remainder being returned to the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research for reprogramming.

State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and highway contractors share the desire to complete quality constructed highway projects in a timely and cost efficient manner. Delays in the completion of highway construction projects result in higher costs to DOTs and contractors as well as greater inconvenience to the public.

Even though DOTs and highway contractors strive to avoid delays in construction and to minimize the time and costs associated with delays, they often find it difficult to control the circumstances causing delays. Delays in the construction phase frequently could have been avoided by actions taken in the pre-planning, planning and design phase of the project.

The proposed research project will build on the results of a current research project, NCHRP Project 20-24(12), the objective of which is to identify causes of construction delays and phases of project development where delays originate and to develop policies and procedures to expedite the construction process. It is anticipated that this new research project will continue to explore strategies and techniques that can be used by DOTs in all phases of the project development process, but it will concentrate on activities that can be done in the pre-planning, planning, and design phases to minimize delays during the construction phase. It is expected that many of the techniques developed for application in the pre-planning, planning, and design phases may occur years prior to the start of construction and could require development of new policies within DOTs. This research will be limited to investigating techniques that can be used under the low bid procurement system.

Finding ways to speed up highway construction and minimizing the impact construction projects have on the public is one of the objectives in the current AASHTO Strategic Plan. Results of this research will directly impact the ability of AASHTO to meet its goal. Finding solutions to this problem remains the highest priority research project for the AASHTO Subcommittee on Construction.

Examples of potential techniques that DOTs could employ include the following: corridor preservation of right-of-way, timing of bidding, completion of utility relocation prior to the start of construction, agency purchase of borrow sites, completion of all hazardous material clean-up prior to the start of construction, agency obtainment of all necessary permits prior to start of construction, more thorough geotechnical investigations to identify problem areas, and use of closed-to-all-traffic construction zones.

This project will (1) identify techniques that can be used by DOTs in the pre-planning, planning, and design phases of project development to reduce the construction time of highway projects, (2) evaluate the cost effectiveness and identify legal and other issues that could affect DOTs' ability to implement these techniques, (3) determine the techniques that have the greatest potential for accelerating the construction process, and (4) develop tools, guidelines, and procedures to enable DOTs to implement the results of the research.

The time required to complete highway construction projects remains one of the major concerns of the public and the source of most complaints. Speeding up construction and minimizing disruption caused by construction is one of the primary goals of AASHTO, and there is a real urgency to finding ways to plan for and avoid construction delays before construction starts. The payoff for this research effort is potentially very high. A 5% reduction in unit costs or delay claims would amount to millions of dollars nationally. Implementation of this research is anticipated to be through state DOTs, contractors, designers, and third parties such as utilities as they apply the tools, guidelines, and procedures identified and developed as a result of this research.

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