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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Questions & Answers
 
The following questions and answers are provided to help customers find answers to frequently asked questions.  If you wish to suggest questions, please contact Brenda Marcus, the Unit Manager of the Office of Project Letting (OPL). 
 


 
Q1. Does a PD-02 Exception Letter allow a project to be awarded?
 
Q2. Can a Notice to Proceed (NTP) with construction be issued with outstanding PD-02 Exception Letter issue(s)?
 
 
 
 
Q6. MS Project and OPL have different PS&E due dates, which one is correct?
 
Q7. How is advertisement length determined?
 
Q8. On the Final PS&E Submittal Checklist, item 3.a. "Have all Intergovernmental Agreements been signed" - everyone agreed to the IGA, it is out for signature, can I check "YES?
 
Q9. On the Final PS&E Submittal Checklist, item 1.g. and 2.b. which talk about approved design exceptions - we submitted our design exceptions a long time ago, how do we know if they are approved? How do we know if the design exception needs FHWA approval?
 
Q10. When is Full Federal Oversight required?
 
Q11. When is a Public Interest Finding letter required?
 
Q12. Who signs Letters of Public Interest Finding, Anticipated Item Approval Request, and PD-02 Exception Letters; and where do I send them?
 
Q13. 4.g. of the PS&E Checklist calls for approval of the ODOT Risk Coordinator if you have Pollution Liability Insurance. Who is this person?
 
Q14. Who do I contact to request a bid date change? Is there a form? 
 
Q15. Are there special project identification signs for Stimulus projects (2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)? 
 
Q16. Are there programmatic exceptions for PS&E deliverables not being complete for local agency, 1R, ARRA, or other specific type of project? Are there ever items on the PS&E checklist that don't require a PD-02 letter?
 
Q17. I've been getting some conflicting information on if I need a Letter of Public Interest Finding with my Anticipated Item request. In addition to the guidance in the Users Guide to PS&E, is there additional information available?
 
Q18. If a PD-02 Exception Letter lets me proceed to bid advertisement, why is Office of Project Letting (OPL) telling me I have to complete some of the issues prior to advertisement? 
 
 
 



 
Q1.   Does a PD-02 Exception Letter allow a project to be awarded?
PD-02 exception letters provide a mechanism to request authorization allowing a project to proceed to bid advertisement given some incomplete PS&E submittal requirement(s).  The exception letter must list all outstanding items and include for each item:
 
o        a resolution plan,
o        the expected resolution date,
o        the responsible person for each outstanding item. 
 
By default, approved PD-02 exceptions letters are assumed to authorize projects to proceed to advertisement only.  Projects will not be allowed to proceed to bid opening, project award, or issuance of a Notice to Proceed unless explicitly requested in the exception letter and approved by the Deputy Director.  For any project with federal funds, FHWA will also need to approve the project proceeding to advertisement without the PS&E submittal requirement.
 
In all cases, the Office of Pre-Letting (OPL) QA staff has been tasked to track identified outstanding PD-02 issues by periodically querying the PL/CPM/LAL regarding the status of the resolution plan(s).  The project PL/CPM/LAL carries the responsibility to confirm to the OPL QA staff that all the listed issues have been resolved.  The ODOT Procurement Office Construction Contracting Unit must also be so advised so they can proceed with contract award.  This notification needs to be in writing (e-mail preferred) and can be directed to the project QA engineer, to OPO Construction Contracting directly, or both.
 
Answer updated 04/20/06
 
 
Q2.  Can a Notice to Proceed (NTP) with construction be issued with outstanding PD-02 Exception Letter issue(s)?
PD-02 exception letters routinely request authorization to proceed to bid advertisement and bid opening given some incomplete PD-02 required items.  This request must list the outstanding items and include a resolution plan for each of them.  Most often PD-02 exception letters only request permission to proceed with advertisement and are silent regarding the question of proceeding with contract award.  
 
In the latter cases, the Office of Pre-Letting QA staff has been tasked to follow the outstanding PD-02 issues by periodically querying the PL/CPM/LAL regarding the status of the resolution plan.  When the PL/CPM/LAL has confirmed that all the listed issues have been resolved, the ODOT Procurement Office Construction Contracting Unit can be so advised and will then proceed with contract award.  This notification needs to be in writing (e-mail preferred) and can be directed to the project QA engineer, to OPO Construction Contracting directly, or both. 
 
Unless PD-02 letters explicitly request authorization to advertise andaward, contracts will not be issued until confirmation from the PL/CPM/LAL that the outstanding issues have been satisfactorily resolved. 
 
 
 
 
Q3.  What is the best way to select a bid date for my project?
The need to identifying your project bid date accurately depends somewhat on stage of the project. We recommend following the logic shown in the diagram linked below. The logic can be described as follows:
 
  • At project initiation and up to 13 months prior to the planned PS&E submission month, we recommend you target the first day of the month in which the project is desired to be bid. Be sure to account for the PS&E submittal/advertisement lead time, typically 45 calendar days prior to bid opening - longer for projects intended to be advertised more than 3 weeks.
     
  • During the 13th month select one of the "standard" bid dates, as listed on the ODOT Office of Procurement (OPO) web page: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/CS/OPO/construction/bid_opening_dates.shtml
     
  • During the 7th month, contact the Office of Pre-Letting to confirm the recommended bid date. This last step will enable you to take into account any additional bid dates beyond the "standard dates" that may have been added to the schedule and to place your project for competitive bidding. Once this date is agreed to it will be shown on the "Six Month Schedule of Projects" which OPO makes available to the contracting community and the public. http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/CS/OPO/construction/schedule_of_projects.shtml
  • OPL is available to discuss other factors impacting your project such as pricing patterns seasonally, large specialized work, etc.
 
 
 
Q4. Who signs the line for "ODOT Financial Authority:" on the PS&E Submittal Checklist cover page?  Is this signature supposed to be STIP Coordinator?
The Area Manager (Bridge Delivery Unit Manager for OTIA III projects) is responsible for assuring that the project/Region has enough funds to be bid.  By signing the checklist, she/he is committing to covering the low responsible bid for the project.
 
 
Q5. What funding amounts should be listed under “Total Estimated Cost” and “PCS funded amount” on the PS&E Submittal Checklist cover page?
The Total Estimated Cost should be the total construction phase estimate, including biddable, CE, contingency, anticipated items, and any other items required in the construction phase.  The PCS funded amount should be the current funding in PCS for the construction phase.  The STIP Coordinator can provide this amount if the PL doesn’t have access to PCS.
 
 
Q6.  MS Project and OPL have different PS&E due dates, which one is correct?
MS Project dates are often vary for a variety of reasons, such as minor changes upstream in the schedule etc.  The OPL due date is the date the project is required to arrive at OPL for review and processing to allow for a specific Bid Opening.  Failure to meet this date likely will place the project in jeopardy of the desired Bid Opening.  The OPL due date is 8am on that date.  Delivering the project later in the day will be considered late.
 
 
Q7.  How is advertisement length determined?
Advertisement length is determined according to Technical Bulletin RD07-06.  OPL makes initial recommendations based on the PCS funded amount at the time of scheduling the first Bid Opening date for the project.  Most projects fall within the 3 week standard advertisement length, however teams should take care to account for changes in advertisement length when projects are combined, scope increases etc.  An additional week of advertisement is required if there will be a mandatory pre-bid meeting for a project (typically 4 weeks instead of 3 weeks).  Additional advertisement needed at the time of PS&E will likely delay the Bid Opening for the project.  It is the project team’s responsibility to monitor the need for a longer advertisement length and advise OPL accordingly.  OPL is available to discuss project specifics to determine a specific advertisement length for a project.
 
 
Q8.  On the Final PS&E Submittal Checklist, item 3.a. "Have all Intergovernmental Agreements been signed" - everyone agreed to the IGA, it is out for signature, can I check "YES?
IGAs (and other similar agreements) are executed when the final signature is added to the document.  Without all final signatures the Agreement is not complete and therefore a PD-02 exception letter would be required to proceed to PS&E submission.  To check the status of your agreements, ODOT internal staff can check the agreements database at http://rssa.odot.state.or.us/cf/agreements/index.cfm
 
 
Q9.  On the Final PS&E Submittal Checklist, item 1.g. and 2.b. which talk about approved design exceptions - we submitted our design exceptions a long time ago, how do we know if they are approved?  How do we know if the design exception needs FHWA approval?
Technical Services Roadway Engineering tracks design exceptions.  Internal ODOT staff can see the latest spreadsheet tracking the approval process of design exceptions on the website: http://egov.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/ENGSERVICES/design_exceptions.shtml.  The spreadsheet will indicate if FHWA approval is required according to the Stewardship Agreement.  When ODOT approves the design exception, Roadway will distribute a copy of the signed design exception back to the project team along with notification of FHWA approval status (if required).  If FHWA approval is still pending, a second email is sent out when the approval has been received.  For additional questions on status, please contact Aundrea Guthrie, Pre-Letting Specialist.  An approved PD-02 exception letter is required to move to PS&E if the project has outstanding design exceptions.
 
 
Q10.  When is Full Federal Oversight required?
Full federal oversight (FFO) requirements are listed in the FHWA Stewardship agreement, found here:
 
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TECHSERV/docs/ODOT_Federal_Aid_Program_Agreement_2010.pdf
 
OTIA III projects have a specific list of projects that are exempt (no FFO) and non-exempt (FFO required) and are listed by project, not by the guidelines in the Stewardship Agreement.  FFO requirements only apply to NHS routes.  Non-NHS routes do not require FFO.  For non-OTIA III projects, the following guidelines are generally followed:
3R=Resurface, restore, and rehabilitate (requires FFO if over $5 million)
4R=New or reconstruction (requires FFO if over $1 million)
If unsure, check with Brenda Zuniga, Highway Program Office, to find out if your project is Full Federal Oversight or not.
 
If FFO is required, an additional 3 weeks of PS&E review time is needed for FHWA's review.  FFO projects also require FHWA approval on anticipated items, public interest findings, and design exceptions.
 
 
Q11.  When is a Public Interest Finding letter required?
Public Interest Finding (PIF) letters are required under any of the following conditions:
  • Separate contract for specialized work (clearing & grubbing for migratory birds is a common example)
  • Proprietary or sole source equipment, materials, or firms listed in the contract (less than 3 available substitutes)
  • Salvage Material, i.e. materials that does not become the property of the contractor (grindings, flashing beacons etc that are to be turned over to the maintenance yards are common examples)  See Technical Bulletin RD07-05(B) Salvaging Features and Excess Materials Associated with Transportation Projects by Contract Specification.  (for Salvage Material, the Region Roadway Engineer approves requests up to $25,000 and OPL Manager over $25,000.
  • State / Agency supplied material (VMS boards, advance purchase of materials for schedule are common examples)
  • State / Agency supplied equipment or labor (such as using ODOT's Zipper Barrier or local agency work force completing biddable work).
  • Contractor purchased equipment for State / Agency ownership (such as Architectural Treatment forms).
  • Mandatory Borrow or Disposal Sites
PIFs are required to document to the project file that the best interest of the public is addressed when all project scope is not included in the prime contract.  The Office of Project Letting Manager approves the PIF, as well as FHWA if a FFO project.  PIF's should be approved prior to PS&E submission and submitted with the PS&E package.  The project team is encouraged to address approval early, as if they are not approved changes to the contract documents (and potentially the schedule) will be required.  Examples and optional templates for PIF letters are being developed and will be available on our website mid 2008.
 
 
 
Q12.  Who signs Letters of Public Interest Finding, Anticipated Item Approval Request, and PD-02 Exception Letters; and where do I send them?
View this document to learn who signs what.
 
 
 
Q13.  4.g. of the PS&E Checklist calls for approval of the ODOT Risk Coordinator if you have Pollution Liability Insurance. Who is this person?
Rhonda Hollis is the ODOT Risk Coordinator. Her email is Rhonda.Hollis@odot.state.or.us and her phone number is 503.986.2825. If the Risk Assessment Tool calls for Pollution Liability Insurance, contact Rhonda, as often she will waive the requirement saving your project money. A copy of the email from Rhonda is required for your PS&E submission to OPL.
 
 
 
Q14.  Who do I contact to request a bid date change?  Is there a form? 
There is not a specific form, email works fine.  Send request to ODOT Pre-Letting In Box. Include in the request the following information:
 
Key Number, Project Name, Project Leader (if you aren't the one sending the request). Construction Cost, FHWA exempt or non-exempt (will the project require Full Federal Oversight review), current bid opening date (if already on schedule) and requested bid opening date.  Also include any other information that may be relevant.  Prior to sending the request to OPL, the Project Leader should gain any required Region approvals.  Feel free to cc the email request to any relevant region personnel.  Additional Technical Service or OPO personnel are not required.  Based on the nature of the request, additional approvals may be required by the manager of OPL.
 
Projects normally get added to the bid schedule by having the correct codes in PCS and having a MS Project schedule.  The dates and codes trigger inclusion on the Bid Schedule 13 months prior to PS&E, as part of the lock-in process.  If a project is added to the STIP, combined or split after the lock-in process, please send email to ODOT Pre-Letting In Box including the information shown above that is required to change a bid date.
 
 
Q15Are there special project identification signs for Stimulus projects (2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)?
A6.  Linked below is the current electronic version for the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus project identification sign (#CG20-8S) for Oregon.
 
 
Please note the following colors for this sign:
Legend:           Retroreflective Blue
Background:    Retroreflective Silver-white
ARRA Logo:     Retroreflective Red
                      Retroreflective Blue
                      Retroreflective Green
Chapter 6 of the ODOT Sign Policy is being updated as fast as possible and will reflect these details.
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
1) This sign is to be added to all projects receiving Stimulus funding. If necessary, add via Adendum Letter or CCO, depending on the timing of when the funding is identified.
2) Designers, PLEASE make sure to include the appropriate 00225 Special Provisions in the Special Provisions if your project qualifies.
3) On a Stimulus Project, include only this Project ID sign. DO NOT include both the Stimulus ID sign and the Standard ID (CG20-8) sign.
If you have additional questions about the application of this sign, please contact Scott M. McCanna, P.E.  | State Traffic Control Plans Engineer. 
 
 
 
Q16Are there programmatic exceptions for PS&E deliverables not being complete for local agency, 1R, ARRA, or other specific type of project? Are there ever items on the PS&E checklist that don't require a PD-02 letter?
There are no programmatic exceptions for PS&E deliverables for particular classes of projects, this includes personal services contracts for CE phase, IGA with local governments, and all other items. If there are ever these exceptions, a letter will be posted to the OPL website.
 
Regions must certify on the front page of the Final PS&E Submittal Checklist that either all project requirements have been satisfied or that anything not complete has a signed and approved PD-02 Exception Letter. OPL will not deem your project complete and will not continue to process your project if everything is not complete. (A signed approved PD-02 Exception letter counts as complete)
 
 
Q17.  I've been getting some conflicting information on if I need a Letter of Public Interest Finding with my Anticipated Item request. In addition to the guidance in the Users Guide to PS&E, is there additional information available?
  • Anticipated Items: All anticipated items should have the dollar amount for each line item separated out into procurement methods - i.e. if installing a camera, it should include $$ for the material purchase and $$ for the installation. Each component should also be spelled out as to the procurement method (state forces, competitively bid etc). If it is bid, the method bid should be described. If it is Agency forces, a Public Interest Finding is also required. Additional discussion should also be included in the anticipated item request that also discusses the reasons that these items are not included in the construction contract.
  • Any anticipated item not competitively bid (obviously smoothness bonus, steel escalation etc don't count) also requires a PIF. Same as above, if they provide the description that it fits with in the minor work on the agencies existing facilities routinely performed by own forces etc. If you agree, then we don’t need a PIF. It still may need an anticipated item approval. It is acceptable to FHWA to include both on the same letter as long as the letter also says "Letter of Public Interest Finding" 
  • Public Interest Findings - more detail more detail more detail on why it is in the public's best interest. Most of the time, extensive research in the regions has occurred - but this reasoning doesn't get documented. Any auditor (state, federal, or the Oregonian) should be able to read a letter and understand the background and discussion.
 
In short - Any auditor, FHWA friend, or public records request should be able to request a copy of the letter and clearly understand the considerations that go into the finding and not have to call anyone to find out more.
 
Anticipated items letters will not be approved if not competitively bid and there is not a PIF.
 
 
 
Q18.  If a PD-02 Exception Letter lets me proceed to bid advertisement, why is Office of Project Letting (OPL) telling me I have to complete some of the issues prior to advertisement?
The PD-02 letter is an ODOT tool that allows projects to proceed through the ODOT quality review check, and preparation of documents for advertising, with some incomplete items that still require completion prior to the bid opening. However, some of the items allowed by the ODOT PD-02 exception must be completed in order to receive FHWA approval for advertisement. In fact, without prior authorization, OPL is not allowed to even send the project to FHWA for consideration if it is missing a required document such as environmental documentation or right of way certification.
 
FHWA approval for advertisement is required by the Friday prior to the advertisement breaking. Additional time before that is needed for FHWA review and the length is dependent on the complexity of the project.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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