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When there’s a need to jumpstart the nation’s economy, government leaders instinctively turn to investing in new infrastructure projects. Infrastructure investment brings a two-fold return. Construction projects support economic growth when completed. But more importantly, launching new projects quickly creates jobs.
Getting Ready For Shovel-Ready
One of the largest infrastructure investments is annually made under the Federal-Aid Highway Program. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is charged with implementing the Federal-aid Highway Program in cooperation with the States and local government and annually distributes funding of approximately $7 billion.
The initial focus will be on “shovel-ready projects”. These projects are often delayed rehabilitation or repair projects. The project bid documents are easy to prepare. And contractors will mobilize soon after the bid letting if they have the right materials to start. A good example of this type of project is pavement overlays. These projects will often require important materials such as grouts, patch, and sealers.
Other notable projects include bridge maintenance and deck repairs. Many steel bridge superstructures require recoating – a process that includes surface prep by sandblasting, followed by galvanizing coating applications. Concrete bridge-deck repairs start with crack repair and finish with deck treatments such as epoxy overlays, non-shrink grouts, and waterproofing.
Other shovel-ready projects are those that have been fully designed but delayed due to lack of funding. These projects have all the necessary approvals, meaning bids will come quickly and work is meant to be completed as fast as possible. Precast concrete producers should be ready to cast culverts, double tees, and girders – all of which may require special mix designs comprised of Portland cements and specialty admixtures.
Even those large complex projects still in the planning stage can be a part of the infrastructure boost. They often include a series of small bid lettings that help prep the area for the major construction. Agencies will be sourcing key building systems such as concrete sound walls, retaining systems, and masonry block walls.
Moving shovel-ready projects forward quickly will require focus on key purchasing details. Agencies will also be pressured to complete projects as fast as possible to minimize impact on the community. These details could spike strong demand for common jobsite products used for traffic control, storm water treatment and containment, and signage.
Both demands will put pressure on securing accurate bids quickly. And there will be increased emphasis on utilizing the best materials and supplies to produce a durable and long-lasting structure.
Materials must be properly sourced. Agencies base their decision on research and investigation of best practices. Many jurisdictions are limiting product options such as curing agents, jointing materials, and admixtures.
Creating The Bid Planning List
It’s important to have a plan on how to quickly, fairly, and effectively secure the unique list of products and services needed for each project. White Cap branches are tuned in to the products needed on all types of infrastructure projects. White Cap DOT specialists can help in securing the best material for each application.
To speed the bidding and construction process, many jurisdictions limit contractors on the types of materials that can be used on their projects. Local DOTs post these approved products and services on Qualified Products List (QPL) or Approved Product List (APL).
Because local conditions and applications differ, most state departments of transportation create their own QPLs. Engineers base their decision on experience and testing. Products must comply to standards using either ASTM and/or ASHTO procedures. The approved products lists are valuable resources for contractors, manufacturers, and distributors. They often include specific categories such as geotextiles, waterproofing, and repair materials.
Along with an assured supply of approved materials and a team of DOT product experts, White Cap offers agencies an easy way to prepare their bid documents.
They make procurement easier, better, and more affordable by combining the purchase power of more than 50,000 state and local governments, educational institutions, tribal nations, and nonprofit organizations into one large cooperative group.
White Cap is proud to partner with Sourcewell, offering members ceiling pricing and volume discounts on products that are compliant and satisfy pre-bid requirements. Simplify your department’s purchasing process and get more with White Cap.