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ARTBA Updates State-By-State Report as of April 2

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) is closely monitoring the status of transportation construction projects across the country in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. 

It is consulting with affiliated chapters and members on a continual basis. Several chapters have shared status reports and are allowing ARTBA to share excerpts in this document. The information below also reflects reports made through the Council of State Executives, as well as direct contacts and news stories. Some public agencies have provided updates to ARTBA directly. 

The information is current as of today, April 2, 2020. The situation is very dynamic and constantly changing. We will continue to post information on our website.

Arkansas

AGC Arkansas (3/20/20) - ARDOT has not shut down any projects. The department has not closed. It is encouraging/allowing employees to work from home when appropriate. ARDOT employees on projects have been instructed to utilize social distancing practices when needed. The department has seen no disruptions of payments to contractors, inspections or supply chains to this point, but recognizes that could become a possibility. ARDOT is utilizing E-Construction and E-Bidding which will help minimize risk related to COVID-19. 

(3/20/20) – From an ARDOT memo… 

“Effective immediately, the restrictions recommended by Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for work environments will be given consideration as an adverse working condition… for the purpose of charging time on working day projects and fixed date projects, and for determining time impact analysis for calendar day projects using Critical Path Method (CPM) schedules.

“Resident Engineers will consider the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in assessing time charges on all projects…”

Illinois

Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association (4/1/20) –

Keep Work Going: Do Your Part

There have been an increasing number of public reports of unsafe practices on construction job sites. If these reports are valid, not only does this jeopardize the health of the workforce and the general public, it can also lead to dire outcomes for the entire industry. Contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers must all do their part to ensure a safe work environment. The industry must police itself or face potentially devastating consequences. As the IRTBA is working to reassure agencies, the media, and elected officials that enhanced safety practices are in place to keep work going, a few public examples of unsafe practices could result in stopping work throughout the industry.

There have been reports of citizens videotaping work zones, and these examples have been raised as high as to the Governor himself. Please do your part and make sure your workers, subcontractors, and job sites are as safe as can be and all safety precautions are being followed. Enforce social distancing and refer to the IRTBA publication on Best Practices for Construction during the COVID-19 crisis.

(3/29/30) – From Gov. Pritzker’s press conference…

Q: Why haven’t construction projects been halted? Some are complaining that they are working too close together on the sites…

A: Well, it’s certainly up to the companies that are doing the construction to make sure that people are social distancing that are working there. There should be an opportunity at most construction sites to do that. But to the extent that they’re not able to, that is a concern certainly for me and it should be for the owners of the companies that people are operating those construction sites. So anybody that is concerned about that certainly should be reporting that to the Department of Public Health or letting my administration know, because there is, remember that much of what is being done is essential work that’s been determined at least as essential under our order and we don’t want anybody to be at risk but but we also want to make sure that we’re, you know, continuing the necessary work across the state. So please, anybody that’s experiencing that should let us know.

(3/27/20) – IDOT has… adjusted its pre-qualification procedures. Ratings set to expire March 31 through July 30, 2020 will be extended through July 31, 2020. Firms that are currently prequalified will be allowed to bid on the April, June, and July lettings. Contractors must still submit a Request for Authorization to Bid (BDE 124) and the Affidavit of Availability (BC 57) in order to bid on the IDOT letting as usual.

(3/27/20) – Memo from Tim Kell, Engineer of Construction, IDOT… “Recognizing the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Illinois Department of Transportation construction projects, the following guidance will be utilized in the event of project delays caused directly by the pandemic:

 • Prime Contractors forced to suspend construction activity due to the COVID-19 virus impacting their work force or supply of materials should follow the provisions of Article 108.08 of the Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction and notify the Department of any such delay in writing and request an extension of contract time if necessary and appropriate.

Any request submitted by the Contractor relating to COVID-19 will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and will be considered a non-compensable delay per Article 108.08 Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction.

“The intent of the department is to continue the highway construction program while working with our contractors to help minimize the spread of this virus. If completion dates need to be extended or the charging of working days need to be suspended, the department will work with all parties to ensure adequate time adjustments.”

(3/27/20) – From Chicago Tribune, “Jackson Boulevard Bridge will close for two years…”

“Road construction has been one part of daily life that has not changed much because of coronavirus concerns. CDOT, IDOT and the Tollway all report that they are going forward with planned projects.

“The work takes place outside, and most construction workers are not in proximity to each other,” noted Maria Castaneda, spokeswoman for IDOT.

“The Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, a trade group, is recommending best practices for workers, including encouraging workers to stay home if they are sick and not sharing personal protective equipment like gloves.

“Association CEO and President Michael Sturino said that road construction is actually a ‘silver lining’ for the battered economy, since it keeps people employed and construction can be easier to do in light traffic. The association is talking with IDOT, CDOT and the Tollway about possibly speeding up construction on highway and bridgework ‘where it makes sense.’”

(3/24/20) – IRTBA and its industry partners have issued “COVID-19 Recommended Best Practices for Highway Construction Worksites (Jobsite/Office/Material Production Site).” Subject areas include:

· Communicate key Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and worksite procedures to staff, tradespeople, inspectors, and vendors.

· All employees/vendors should be asked COVID-19 screening questions prior to entering the worksite. If they answer “yes” to any, they should be asked to leave the worksite immediately.

· Manage sick employees to ensure any illness is not spread to other workers. · Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

· Tools, Supplies, Equipment

· Documentation/Weight Tickets

· Social Distancing

· Promote good hygiene.

 

Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association (3/20/20) – 

Governor Declares Transportation Industry Essential 

Governor J.B. Pritzker has just announced a “Stay at Home” Executive Order for the residents of the State of Illinois. The order will be effective March 21 through April 7, 2020. This order specifically provides that the transportation industry is “essential.” This means that your firms and employees will continue to work on IDOT and Tollway projects. "Roads, bridges, and transit will not be closing down," Gov. Pritzker said in his address today, Friday, March 20, upon issuance of the order. 

Despite other travel restrictions under the "Stay at Home" order, individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain, and repair “essential infrastructure.” Essential infrastructure includes, but is not limited to, roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation. 

I have been in constant contact with IDOT and Tollway officials, who have confirmed their commitment to keep work going. I have assured agency leaders that industry is committed to keeping work going, and that every IRTBA member has implemented health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of their workforce and the general public. I am very grateful to Governor Pritzker, Secretary Osman, and Director Alvarez for their recognition of the importance of the transportation industry to the health, safety, and economy of Illinois… 

Michael J. Sturino

President & CEO  

(3/20/20) – IDOT has advised that they will be sending out messages to all IDOT districts to not require signatures from the drivers on tickets. IDOT has advised that they will also allow the residents to work with contractors to establish drop boxes or another alternative for delivery of forms, material inspections, tickets, etc. Obviously, there is not a "one size fits all" answer, but the resident engineer can work out logistics as necessary. All that said, IDOT does have to manage tickets appropriately to adequately document delivery. 

(3/16/20) – 

“Major Agency Work to Proceed”

“IRTBA leadership has been in close consultation with officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Tollway, and the Chicago Department of Transportation concerning the impact COVID-19 may have on the transportation construction and design industry. All three agencies currently have no plans to stop or curtail work. The agencies have business continuity plans that will, at this time, ensure timely processing of paperwork – including payment requests. 

“IRTBA members are reminded, however, that the situation remains fluid. Industry is also advised that due to the nature of the current situation, enhanced protocols should be employed by individual firms. These include increased hand washing and social distancing, and are further spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

“As always, prime contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and consultants are encouraged to maintain a strong working relationship on every project and to regularly advise the owner of any significant COVID-19 matter in the event circumstances warrant. IRTBA member firms should utilize teleconferencing with their teams and owners when possible as opposed to in-person meetings. Firms are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel and HR professionals for further guidance on addressing the myriad of issues associated with the pandemic.”

Missouri

AGC of Missouri (4/1/20) – Excerpt, notes from MoDOT/Industry COVID-19 Weekly Meeting Minutes (via conference call)…

Status of Construction Projects: MoDOT will continue to move forward with Highway Lettings and Construction Projects as scheduled. MoDOT has a continuity of operation plan and care for the infrastructure has been deemed as a critical function. That means that construction of highway projects will continue. In addition, MoDOT staff will perform construction inspection, materials testing and contract administration. We will provide payments to contractors in a timely manner. A discussion followed regarding the reduction in state and federal income due to lower fuel and vehicle sales.

CDC Guidelines on Construction Sites: As we are completing our duties, we should follow the Center for Disease Control and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services guidelines which require social distancing and reducing personal contact when possible. Preconstruction meetings will be held virtually by video or teleconference. We should be flexible and innovative in determining ways to communicate and complete our necessary duties while reducing personal contact. Additional discussion occurred involving the need to emphasis social distancing on construction sites. In some parts of the country, concerns have been raised regarding the continuation of highway projects. It is important that we demonstrate proper distancing and safety practices while constructing our projects. AGC provided a link that highlights what is being done to work safely under the current situation...

Extending Working Hours: Due to lower traffic volumes on our roadways, it may be possible to revise work hour restrictions on projects. Projects will be reviewed and evaluated on an individual basis. Please contact your Resident Engineer to discuss this opportunity. Please be aware that while traffic volumes have decreased the Highway Patrol has reported an increase in excessive speeding. It is important to manage the work zones by using rumble strips, law enforcement and proper notification to keep workers and drivers safe in work zones.

Contract Delays: MoDOT recognizes material shortages, subcontractor availability and illness impacting the workforce as possible issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delays due to epidemics are specifically addressed in the Missouri Standard Specifications for Highway Construction Section 108.14.1 Excusable or Non-compensable delay. MoDOT will provide appropriate extensions should a delay occur. Please document and send your request to the Resident Engineer as these situations occur. Additional discussion occurred regarding the importance of taking into account delay impacts on all projects that a contractor is completing for the entire construction season as opposed to focusing only on the specific project impacted. Industry appreciated MoDOT’s flexibility on this issue…

AGC of Missouri (3/22/20) – Additional message from MoDOT – excerpt…

  • The regularly scheduled bid opening for March 20 [took] place as planned. Future bid openings and award dates will be held according to the current schedule.
  • Payments to contractors and consultants will not be affected.
  • MoDOT staff will use the CDC guidelines concerning social distancing. Pre-bid and pre-construction conferences where several people are participating, as well as project public meetings, will be held virtually or postponed. Small group interactions regarding project design or construction should employ social distancing guidelines.
  • Contract inspection and administration and consultant and professional services activities will move forward but will be conducted virtually or adhere to social distancing guidelines for interactions.
  • If specific circumstances for a contractor or consultant arise related to workforce availability, we will work with the company to find a suitable resolution.

(3/20/20) From MoDOT… 

“A message to our business partners: At MoDOT, we continue to evaluate the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting our operations. We have a Continuity of Operation Plan in place that is designed to keep critical functions going…

MoDOT Operations – MoDOT is a provider of critical services to the public and as such we have plans to continue essential operations. At this time, we are continuing the design and construction of the state's road and bridge projects. In addition, because we have electronic processing, we intend to proceed with future bid openings. 

Providing Support – Several MoDOT facilities are being used to house and distribute critical supplies. MoDOT staff will be helping with distribution of these supplies as needed.

 “MoDOT Facilities – To date, all MoDOT facilities remain open. However, in an effort to avoid spreading the coronavirus, or COVID-19, we are taking every precaution to limit in-person contacts, while still maintaining a high level of customer service. In addition, we have strongly encouraged those employees who can to telework, so many of our buildings are fairly sparsely populated. Please feel free to call our toll-free number – 1-888-275-6636 – for any business you have with MoDOT. Thank you for understanding!

 “Interactions with the Public – MoDOT’s Customer Service Call Centers will remain open for the public to report problems on roads and bridges as well as to ask questions…

“All in-person public hearings, information meetings and stakeholder meetings are postponed, or will be conducted online – with associated hard-copy information available at MoDOT District Offices… 

“Business Conducted by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission – For the foreseeable future, the monthly meetings of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission will be conducted electronically, starting with the April 1 meeting.”

The Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) is a non-partisan federation whose primary goal is to aggressively grow and protect transportation infrastructure investment to meet the public and business demand for safe and efficient travel. You may learn more about ARTBA by visiting www.ARTBA.org.

 

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