AGC Chapters have been in ongoing contact with state departments of transportation (DOTs) concerning COVID-19 related impacts.
At this time, most report that highway construction programs are moving ahead as scheduled, including ongoing construction projects and upcoming bid lettings. Several report that their state DOT is taking advantage of reduced traffic loads by allowing contractors to close lanes and accelerate project schedules. Many states have implemented telecommuting policies for state employees. However, construction inspectors and testing officials are considered essential and, therefore, are exempted from the requirements. Pennsylvania has thus far been the only state to completely shut down highway construction projects. Nevertheless, PennDOT is working with the Contractor’s Association of Western Pennsylvania (CAWP) AGC Chapter to develop safe work procedures for construction workers to follow in an attempt to allow construction to resume on these shut down projects.
The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has not issued specific guidance to states related to COVID-19 impacts on federal-aid construction projects. Generally, FHWA expects state DOTs to follow their own policies and contract provisions in reviewing claims or time extension requests related to material or labor shortages. Many state DOTs’ standard specifications provide for excusable, non-compensable time extensions for regional material shortages. It is unclear if these specifications cover situations where projects are shut down because of quarantines.
For a full list of state DOT activity regarding COVID-19, click here.