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Construction Program Guide

Alternate Pavement Type Bidding (AD/AB)

Under previous guidance (since superseded), FHWA discouraged the use of alternate pavement type bidding (also known as Alternate Design/Alternate Bid, or AD/AB) due to the difficulties in developing truly equivalent pavement designs. However, on March 29, 1996, the Highway Operations Division approved Missouri DOT's (MoDOT's) request under SEP-14 for an alternate pavement bidding procedure. MoDOT actively involved the paving industry in the process of developing alternate pavement type specifications and bid adjustment factors to account for differences in life-cycle costs. The Michigan DOT and the Louisiana DOT&D let projects which utilized life-cycle cost estimates in determining the successful lowest bidder. These State DOTs developed pavement typical sections and specifications that provide a level playing field for the bituminous and Portland cement paving industries. From 2003 to 2010, Alternate Pavement Type Bidding received SEP-14 approval for 15 projects, and was used in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, and Missouri.

On November 8, 2012, FHWA Headquarters issued the Memorandum titled Action: Programmatic Approval of Alternate Pavement Type Bidding, advising that:

  • Projects utilizing alternate pavement type bidding with Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) bid adjustments will no longer considered to be experimental and SEP-14 approval will no longer be necessary, and
  • Alternate pavement type bidding procedures developed consistent with TA 5040.39 may be used on Federal-aid projects on the National Highway System. While this recommended practice is suitable for consideration with any project, in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(o), contracting agencies may use State design and construction standards, including alternate pavement type bidding, for non-NHS projects

Authority/Legal Basis

  • None


General Information
Updated: 06/27/2017
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