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During recent years innovative bidding and contracts (i.e., bonus/rental charge method, cost-plus-time method) have been used in Europe and more recently in the US. FHWA approved this method in 1985 on an experimental basis. To date, several states have used these contractual methods.

Generally, each price bid under this method consist of two parts: the first part involves the activities and cost for the work to be performed; the second part describes the number of days to complete the project and the cost associated for the lane rental amount based on the daily rental rates. With this type of contract a disincentive/incentive provision is being included for accounting for any time overruns and/or early completion respectively.

This method provides additional advantages: low competitive bidding is still applicable; increase in contract cost is minimal and contractor typically shortens contract times for taking advantage of the bonus option; projects with this option attract contractors with efficient construction and engineering management practice able to keep projects on schedule.

The lane-by-lane rental method is assessed only when the contractor closes a portion of the roadway. The rental charge is based on the number, duration and configuration of lanes closed. For example, the fee for having one lane and one shoulder closed would be less than that for having two lanes closed. In addition, higher rental amounts can be assessed for peak periods of the day. Also lane rental may incorporate different charges depending on the time of day lane closure occurs since it affects different traffic level.

A critical factor in the use of lane rental is the determination of the appropriate rental dollar amount. The rental amount should be calculated on the basis of road-user costs estimated to be incurred as a result of anticipated delays and accidents during project construction. Rental amounts may also include construction engineering inspection costs and traffic control and maintenance costs that are anticipated to be generated during construction of the project. Several references exist today on estimating road-user costs. However, in the majority of cases lane rental charges are based only on travel delays since several of the remaining parameters are variable in time and are difficult and time consuming to measure and quantify.

To be effective and accomplish the objectives of applying the lane rental provisions, the rental amount must be defined so that the contractor is encouraged to stimulate innovative and fast-track construction methods, without compromising quality, so as to meet tight schedules. Otherwise, there will be little incentive to accelerate production, and the lane rental provisions may not produce the intended results, other than keeping the project on schedule.

Project Objectives

The objective of this study was to address the NJDOT need in developing appropriate guidelines for lane charges that would minimize the closure of traffic lanes. The developed guidelines considered the impact on traffic and road users, depending on the characteristics of the projects. The study provided the general lane closure guidelines that can be used on a specific project and with respect to the specific project characteristics related to the AADT during the time of day, season, and type of highway/lane closure. It is expected that the criteria used to determine lane rental value for maintenance and construction schedule alternatives are, first, able to reduce private and social costs; second, able to impact construction and maintenance costs; and third, acceptable to the public and decision makers.