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Development of Guidance for Establishing Effective and Efficient Timelines and Incentives/Disincentives for Accelerated Bridge Construction Projects.


State DOTs operate under great expectations to minimize impact to the traveling public and commerce that result from construction activities. Given the operational needs of DOTs, project timelines have become more compressed and prescriptive in terms of when and how long they occur.

State DOT’s often use contractual provisions and methods to achieve project schedule goals. The use of 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 to contractual provisions and methods, a new generation of construction techniques in the form of accelerated bridge construction (ABC) has become more frequently used. ABC provides new methods of bridge construction that can greatly compress the closure time required during bridge construction. Generally, ABC construction methods fall into two categories, 1) minimize the overall construction window (from months to weeks), and 2) minimize the out of service time of the facility (from weeks to hours). When project schedules are compressed, there may be reduced impacts and improved safety for the traveling public, however, the project staff and contractor may be subject to safety risks as a result of the accelerated work schedule and nature of ABC technology.

Generally, the ABC techniques employed 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. Underlying questions that owners have to address when using both ABC techniques and contractual provisions to achieve project goals are 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 to address those risks.


The objective of this study is to develop guidelines that DOT’s & other bridge owners may use in making ABC implementation decisions related to contract provisions.


Reduced cost as measured by comparison of actual incentives paid

Related Research:

  • NCHRP 08-114 [Pending] - Systematic Approach for Determining Construction Contract Time: A Guidebook The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook that DOTs can use to establish and maintain a systematic approach to determining credible and defensible contract times for projects using conventional and alternative contracting methods (e.g., design-bid-build without or with completion incentives and disincentives, design-build, construction-manager/general-contractor (CMGC), and other variations).

  • Technical Advisory 5080.15, FHWA Guide for Construction Contract Time Determination Procedures, 10/15/2002 https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/contracts/t508015.cfm

  • NCHRP Synthesis 502: Practices for Establishing Contract Completion Dates for Highway Projects (2017)

  • NCHRP Report 652: Time-Related Incentive and Disincentive Provisions in Highway Construction Contracts (2010)

  • SHRP2 Solutions: Innovative Bridge Designs for Rapid Renewal (R04)

Provides state and local departments of transportation with a design toolkit for prefabricated bridge projects. Standardized approaches streamline the activities required to get bridge replacement systems designed, fabricated, and erected in less time, and installed in hours or days, rather than weeks or months.

  • SHRP2 Solutions: Managing Risk in Rapid Renewal Projects (R09)

Guidelines and training materials provide agencies with a greater understanding of potential risks associated with rapid renewal projects, and possible mitigation strategies.

  1. Review and summarize contemporary literature and guidance documents related to construction scheduling, schedule risks, and I/D contract clauses.

  2. Study the existing inventory of State DOT ABC projects that utilize GRS, precast bridge elements, SPMT’s, and bridge slides to document what the project time goals were and what the actual construction times turned out to be.In addition, document which projects met the goals, by how much, and the amount of incentive paid to the contractor, if any.

The FHWA National ABC Project Exchange and other available sources should be utilized in developing and assessing the current inventory of ABC projects.

  1. Interview project staff and contractors related to specific ABC projects to collect information.

  2. Develop a guide document that will help DOTs better understand ABC project implementation risks, better estimate practical goals for project schedules using ABC methods, and what associated contractual incentives should be coupled with the ABC technologies.

  3. Provide insightful commentary on implications of tight project timeframes and risks that may be introduced to contractors, project staff, traveling public, and DOT project owners.

  4. Provide guidance on construction oversight staffing needs as well as recommendations related to safe contractor staffing levels.

  5. Provide guidance to project staff that will help identify project implementation risks related to ABC technologies.

  6. Provide recommendations on which combinations of strategies are most effective.

  7. Produce tools that project staff can use to estimate appropriate levels of incentives/ disincentives (I/D), payment for acceleration, and liquidated damages (LQD) for projects that employ ABC techniques.


This research will give bridge designers, project staff, and owners tools to assure that construction projects have realistic and practical project goals for timelines and contractual costs. This will also help identify implementation risks and methods to mitigate them.


DOTs, LPAs, FHWA, AASHTO, and private design consultants would use these guidelines in the development and implementation of projects.

Sponsoring Committee:AKC40, Construction of Bridges and Structures
Research Period:24 - 36 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:William L. Oliva
Source Info:William L. Oliva
Chief of Structures Development Section
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
(608) 266-0075
Date Posted:01/06/2019
Date Modified:03/12/2019
Index Terms:Bridge construction, Construction management, Incentives, Disincentives, Construction scheduling,
Cosponsoring Committees:AKB00, Structures Section
Administration and Management
Bridges and other structures

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