Colorado DOT asking for 10-year guarantees on construction

The Colorado Department of Transportation is asking contractors who bid on projects to guarantee their work for 10 years. Although CDOT started requesting a guarantee with concrete projects in 2001, the first asphalt project with the 10-year warranty was awarded in early September.

The department’s requirements state that concrete should last approximately 22 years and asphalt should last for 10, as long as the pavements are annually maintained. To help ensure the work done on roadway projects would last, CDOT started testing a three- to five-year warranty on pavement. With a shorter warranty, the department found competition for jobs was not reduced and there was no significant increase in cost. The first 10-year warranty concrete project was done on Interstate 70 near Limon, Colo., three years ago.

The state’s first warranted asphalt project, a $5.2 million expansion project on U.S. 24, was recently awarded to Rocky Mountain Materials and Asphalt of Colorado Springs. The project will involve adding two new lanes for three miles east of Colorado Springs, and will use about 80,000 tons of hot mix asphalt. Construction will begin in late 2004, and will be finished in mid-2005.

Tim Aschenbrener, manager of CDOT’s materials and geotechnical branch, said the guarantee requirement makes the contractor more responsible for the project and the work done.

“The contractor has ownership of the project for 10 years, and they’re making some different decisions than if they were walking away from it,” Aschenbrener told the Denver Business Journal.

Aschenbrener also noted that by instituting the guarantee requirement for both concrete and asphalt, CDOT hopes to issue bids in the future that won’t specify concrete or asphalt, but will let the contractor decide what material to use.

Not everyone is optimistic about the new requirement, however. Leaders of local construction associations such as the American Concrete Paving Association have declared their opposition to the warranty, stating the new policy will decrease competition and increase costs, making projects more expensive for the public.