Project bundling—awarding a single contract for several preservation, rehabilitation, or replacement projects—can streamline design and construction, reduce costs, and ease project backlogs.
Many States continue to see an increase in highways and bridges that need attention, often on their local systems. As a result, many of these highways and bridges are being posted for reduced loads, which adversely affects travel time, freight movements, and emergency response times.
Project bundling offers the potential for cost and time savings directly beneficial to reducing the transportation project backlog. It allows the opportunity to address many projects facing similar needs using common or innovative rehabilitation and replacement strategies and tactics in a cost-effective manner.
Bundling Projects Can Save Time and Cost
Project bundling is a process by which a single contract award is used to contract for the preservation, rehabilitation, or replacement of several projects. The contract may be procured in several different ways and may include both design and construction in the overall scope, depending on the procurement method. The contract could cover a single county, district, or State, and it may be tiered to allow a combination of work types (design, preservation, rehabilitation, or complete replacement). In some cases, the contract may include option years. Bundling design and construction contracts saves procurement time, leverages design expertise, achieves economies of scale, and builds momentum to maintain critical assets that are too often in a deficient condition.
- Expedited Project Delivery. Project bundling can help address the national issue of backlogged transportation projects.
- Reduced Cost. Bundling projects with shared features leverages design expertise and achieves economies of scale.
- Efficiency. Using a single contract award for several similar projects streamlines design and construction and saves procurement time.
State of the Practice
Project bundling efforts by State departments of transportation (DOTs) in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Delaware, and Oregon have reduced costs and streamlined design and construction. Bundling allowed them to take advantage of funding opportunities and quickly improve large numbers of bridges.
For example, the Pennsylvania DOT (PennDOT) conducted a three-county pilot project that rebuilt, replaced, or removed 41 county-owned structures for $25 million, resulting in a 25–50 percent savings on design and a 5–15 percent savings on construction. PennDOT followed up on this success by pursuing a statewide, 558-bridge bundling contract.
Examples of project bundling programs:
- Delaware DOT uses a series of bridge bundling contracts to address preservation issues on bridges in good and fair condition. The Bridge Management Section prioritizes the work and the Maintenance Districts administer the contracts. Project scopes include deck sealing, bridge painting, deck patching, and joint repair.
- Ohio DOT’s Bridge Partnership Program is replacing or rehabilitating 220 county bridges over 3 years funded through $120 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEE bonds).
- Georgia DOT’s Design-Build Bridge Replacement Program, which began in 2016, will replace 25 local bridges over 1,095 calendar days through new revenue available under the Transportation Funding Act of 2015.
- Missouri DOT’s $685 million Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program replaced or rehabilitated 802 State bridges over 3.5 years, including 554 bridges replaced through a single design-build contract.
- Oregon DOT’s $1.3 billion Oregon Transportation Investment Act III State Bridge Delivery Program replaced or repaired 271 bridges using 87 project bundles.