Each state decides how to select or certify contractors to do the work. It might be as easy as being the low bid for a project in some states. MnDOT is an example of one state that doesn’t typically specify contractor qualifications. There, projects are let on a low-bid basis, but they require payment and performance bonds as assurance a contractor can do the work. Michigan, on the other hand, requires contractors to be prequalified for the type of repair work they are installing. Each DOT defines its requirements. This might involve contractors being trained by the manufacturers of products being used and/or supported by product technical rep jobsite visits to assure installations are proper so product warranties can be honored.
DeHaven adds that once a DOT qualifies a contractor, that DOT typically sends the contractor project notifications or posts on the state websites.
Where repair work is headed
The amount of work needed to repair and update our infrastructure is staggering — clearly more expensive than can be afforded and it will take many years to accomplish. To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of repairs the industry is in a state of change. Here are some of the trends:
- Speed is important. Repairs must be installed faster to avoid traffic disruptions. It’s common now to install patches or overlays on bridge decks and open lanes to traffic a short time later.
- DOTs are experimenting with ultra-high-performing concretes to achieve longer bridge life spans.
- The performance of epoxy-coated rebar over time is very good and its use will increase. But high volume traffic bridge constructions and repairs are trending to stainless steel rebar for even longer lifespans.
- The use of carbon fiber wraps for repair work is increasing.
- Galvanic anode corrosion protection for steel reinforcement is increasing.
- Training labor for everything is on the increase and so are the requirements for certification.
- Increasing budgets for preventative work continues to grow, changing the focus on products used.
Our current spending of $12.8 billion for bridge repair is small in terms of the need, but it’s still very good for the construction industry. It may be worth your while to position your company to do some of this work.