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Performance specifications to speed construction, reduce oversight, and encourage innovative approaches.

Performance Specifications for Rapid Renewal (R07)


Conventional approaches to highway construction use prescriptive requirements that place the burden on owners to design, specify, and control the work. These requirements often hinder the innovation needed to deliver projects faster or find methods that minimize disruption. Performance specifications that emphasize desired results are needed to fully equip the contracting industry to provide creative solutions that result in faster project delivery, minimal disruption, and greater durability.


To help transportation agencies develop and implement performance specifications, SHRP2 created model performance specifications for various project types (pavements, geotechnical, bridges, etc.) and project delivery methods (design-bid-build, design-build, design-build-warranty, and design-build-operate-maintain). These specifications address issues related to project selection, specification development, procurement, and various other cultural and organizational changes that are necessary to achieve desired performance. The benefits of clarifying the desired performance of roads and bridges include: accelerated construction, greater control and ingenuity by construction contractors in deciding how to build, reduction of costly construction oversight, and more effective uses of construction management resources. This product provides owner agencies with the tools to reduce claims and inspection costs, and accelerate construction.

The product suite specifically includes a two-volume guide to writing specifications with a section targeted to the needs of executives, and a “how to” section for specification writers. Also included are guide specifications in the areas of Hot-Mix Asphalt and Portland Cement Concrete Pavement, concrete bridge deck, embankment/pavement foundations, other geotechnical application areas, work zone management, and quality management that can be used as templates.


Specifying performance goals for rapid construction projects before work begins can help reduce costly oversight, and allow contractors to exercise ingenuity and apply resources more efficiently. This product suite and guide gives contractors and owner agencies the tools to reduce claims and inspection costs, further accelerate construction, and improve project quality.

In the Field

State Project Description Activity Contact
Alabama Implementation Assistance Program – Alabama Department of Transportation is improving quality in the control process and productivity through the use of intelligent compaction and the Every Day Counts initiative Lead Adopter Lyndi Davis Blackburn
Alabama Department of Transportation
Maine Implementation Assistance Program – Maine Department of Transportation is adopting performance specifications to meet several key goals Lead Adopter Rick Bradbury
Maine Department of Transportation
Missouri Implementation Assistance Program – Missouri Department of Transportation is developing and refining grading specifications based on R07 pilot Lead Adopter Bill Stone
Missouri Department of Transportation
Vermont Implementation Assistance Program – Vermont Agency of Transportation is developing performance-based specifications for reclaimed pavements and bases Lead Adopter Bill Ahearn
Vermont Agency of Transportation

Field activities also performed in Louisiana and Virginia during the research phase.

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