The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 51-17 [Active (Synthesis)]

Practices for Closing Out Highway Projects from Substantial Completion to Final Payment
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/1/2019 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Tanya Zwahlen
Research Agency: Colorado State University
Principal Investigator: Christofer Harper
Effective Date: 9/17/2019
Fiscal Year: 2019

Final Scope


Because of the complexity of closing out a highway project, it is not unusual for the completion of a project to take months or years. The challenges to closing out a project can include change of personnel, migration of information (paper to electronic), and competing responsibilities. Not closing out a project within an expected time frame can lead to additional costs to the owner, frustration to the contractors and impediments to release of retention and/or final payment. The delay ultimately impacts internal and external relationships. While there are checklists and processes for closing out a project among some state agencies, a better understanding of factors that drive delayed project close-outs could help ensure timely conclusion of highway projects.

The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT practices for closing out highway projects.

Information to be gathered will include but not be limited to:
• Reported durations of time to close out a project from opening day to final contractor payment and final closeout.
• Required documentation for close out (e.g. certifications of work, materials, test results and other documents)
• Financial implications of not closing out a project
• Policies, processes, tools and metrics agencies use to control the duration required to close out projects (e.g. milestones, agency goals, monitoring and tracking mechanisms)
• Major factors influencing the delay of the close out of a project, including internal processes and external stakeholder influences
• Successful practices as reported by DOTs

Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state transportation agencies through the AASHTO Committee on Funding and Finance, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies to document practices including metrics to support closing out projects. The report will include no fewer than five case examples.

Information Sources:
• FHWA (2017). “e-Construction: Facilitation and Documenting of FHWA Division Office e-Construction Pilot,” Final Project Report, US Department of Transportation, March.
• FHWA (2012). “Project Construction and Contract Administration: Project Closeout: Companion Guide to Video, August. Available at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/federal-aidessentials/catmod.cfm?id=2
• Taylor, T., Sturgill, R. and Li, Y. (2017). “Practices for Establishing Contract Completion Dates for Highway Projects,” NCHRP Synthesis 502, Washington, D.C.
• KYSPR 16-515, Streamlined Project Closeout for Construction at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
• Bezio B.R., (May 23, 2018) Project Funds Management Guide for State Grants Update. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
• Ohio DOTs SiteManager—Point Based Incentive Finalization Report 


Topic Panel
Debra Brisk, DRB Consulting LLC
Qingbin Cui, University of Maryland
Sara Downs, Ohio DOT
George Macdougall, Maine DOT
Betty Mason, Georgia DOT
Mohammad Sadiq, California DOT
Mathew Corrigan, Federal Highway Administration
Robert Shea, Transportation Research Board
 TRB Staff 
Christopher E. Dunne
First Panel: September 17, 2019
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel: June 17, 2020

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