Ft. Wayne District Staff and ICI Members Talk Pros and Cons of Contract Bundling

Representatives from INDOT Ft. Wayne District and ICI met on January 25 in Warsaw to discuss positive and negative contract bundling characteristics. ICI member contractors, working in northeast Indiana, are concerned that aggressive bundling has reduced competition and is driving up costs. Contractors, primarily working in the Ft. Wayne District, have noticed a higher volume of larger bundles including multiple work types over large geographic areas. Such bundling characteristics present several issues for contractors. Concerns include bonding and bidding capacity for smaller-to-medium contractors, DBE availability, limited opportunities for regional contractors and inflexible contract durations.

After receiving contractor comments leading up to the meeting, Ft. Wayne District Construction Director Jason Spreen and district area engineers reviewed bundled contracts scheduled in the first half of the INDOT fiscal year 2019. Spreen presented the results of their evaluation at the meeting including several contracts split into smaller bundles or stand-alone projects. The revised contract bundles include projects in tighter regional areas, along interstate and major highway corridors, and similar work types. Contractors were appreciative of INDOT’s efforts and believe that the resulting contracts will increase competition, optimize crews and help coordinate maintenance of traffic across adjacent projects.

ICI staff will continue reviewing future bundled contracts listed in the INDOT 18-month letting list and requests for proposals to identify bundles with negative characteristics. We urge members to provide comments and feedback to ICI staff and the INDOT districts construction leadership.