State departments of transportation (DOTs) operate to minimize the impact of construction activities on the traveling public and commerce. Given the operational needs of DOTs, project timelines have become more compressed and prescriptive. Contractual provisions and methods such as incentives/disincentives (I/D), payment for acceleration, liquidated damages (LQD), and cost-plus time (A+B) procurement have been used for conventional construction projects to promote meeting project schedule targets. In addition, accelerated bridge construction (ABC) methods can greatly compress the closure time required during bridge construction. Generally, ABC minimizes the overall construction window (from months to weeks), or minimizes the out-of-service time of the facility (from weeks to hours). Compressed project schedules may reduce impacts and improve safety for the traveling public; however, the project staff and contractor may be subject to safety risks because of the accelerated work schedule and nature of ABC technology. Generally, ABC techniques alleviate significant user costs; however, these technologies may have significant project costs that are difficult to accommodate within limited owner construction budgets. For example, the use of self-propelled modular transports (SPMT) could significantly increase the construction cost of a project.
This research will answer the following underlying questions that owners must address when using both ABC techniques and contractual provisions to achieve project goals: (1) what type of contractual timeframes are appropriate when using ABC; (2) what are the risks that contractors face in implementing specific ABC approaches; (3) what are appropriate ranges of incentives and disincentives; and (4) what types of risks are introduced to project staff, contractors, and the public as a result of accelerated timelines, and how are those risks addressed?
The objective of this study is to develop guidelines that state DOTs and other bridge owners may use in making project-specific ABC implementation decisions related to contract provisions.
This work will help state DOTs and owners manage project schedules and set appropriate contractual provisions related to time and incentives for projects utilizing ABC techniques. Significant costs can be saved upon implementation, e.g., reduced cost as measured by comparison of actual incentives paid. These results will also incentivize the construction industry to introduce ABC details into projects to mitigate schedule requirements and maximize competitiveness.