Infrastructure Matters: Building for Tomorrow

According to Transportation Today, “44% of major roadways are in poor or mediocre condition” and cost the average driver $533 in repairs yearly, according to The Washington Post. Unfortunately, one in three bridges requires repair or replacement within the U.S., according to a report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)

Investments in transportation infrastructure have not kept pace with the times. And while roads and bridges age, deferred maintenance needs pile up. While funding uncertainly exacerbates the challenge, governments can make real progress by employing innovative strategies for tackling both the known backlog and emergent urgent repairs.

With 1,400 miles of roads, 2 million square feet of buildings, 174 bridges and a system of parks, Monterey County has taken a proactive approach to reducing its backlog, shortening project timelines by 12-14 weeks and saving $3.5 million in just one year.

In a recent interview, Mike Derr, Monterey County Contracts Purchasing Officer, shared extensively how their JOC program has helped them overcome their common procurement challenges while reducing backlog.  But not all work can be planned for. Natural disasters and other emergencies damage transportation infrastructure without warning. Monterey County also leveraged JOC for their emergency response work.  Faced with relentless winter rainstorms, a major section of Monterey County’s frequented Elkhorn Road closed after a sink hole developed, washing part of the road down the hillside.  Monterey was able to quickly mobilize and rebuild the road in less than 16 weeks through JOC.  In total that winter season, they were able to quickly execute over 90% of their emergency response work with JOC.

Similarly, after a 200-year monsoon devastated a major roadway in Arizona, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) needed to quickly complete emergency repairs at seven sites along 24 miles of U.S. Route 89A within a tight timeframe.  Through Job Order Contracting (JOC), this $1.6 million project was completed in just six weeks. 

Not all emergency response work is a result of natural disasters.  For example, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) faced a major interstate shutdown after a mobile car crusher crashed into a bridge destroying four of 14 load-bearing girders just weeks before the Indianapolis 500.  The Indianapolis 500 is not only one of the world’s foremost sporting events, but also a boon to the local economy, drawing around a quarter of a million visitors to the region each spring.  Needing to act fast to have the bridge re-opened by the weekend of the race, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) turned to Job Order Contracting (JOC) to respond quickly to this $1.3 million emergency.  

While Monterey County, ADOT and INDOT each faced very different and complex crises that impacted their communities, they all turned to their JOC programs to respond quickly for their residents and to avoid lengthy project timelines of traditional procurement methods.

Job Order Contracting – once an alternative contracting procedure only used for vertical (building) construction – has over the past dozen years developed a strong reputation as effective for horizontal construction, as well. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has identified JOC as a best practice for maintaining transit infrastructure. Similarly, the Transportation Research Board released a positive synthesis analysis examining practices related to the use of Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracting, which includes JOC, by transportation agencies for highway design, construction, and maintenance contracts.

These, and other, regulatory agencies have taken exhaustive looks at the essential elements of JOC.  After more than a decade of study, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) concluded that JOC and other IDIQ contracts save over 600 labor hours in administration over a traditional construction contract. The New Jersey Department of Transportation reported to FHWA that it found JOC to save 11% compared to existing time & material construction contracts. These, and other relevant data points, drove FHWA to published new rules in 2020 authorizing JOC as a fully operational procurement method for use with federal highway funds.

Gordian has helped many state and local governments repair, maintain, and improve roadways and bridges across the nation by designing customized and efficient JOC programs.  These JOC programs are fast, flexible and transparent vehicles for public entities to buy construction services, even in emergency situations. Gordian’s experienced staff is alongside every step of the way to ensure work is done right and the documentation is contract compliant, relieving a heavy burden from procurement teams.

Infrastructure matters. Learn more.

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