The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) accepted electronic bids for the first time Jan. 25, marking a step toward an eventually paperless process.
John Oglesby, project control engineer administrator, said 131 bids were opened on 44 projects. And seven, or 5.3 percent, were electronic submissions.
“While the number of contractors who used the process this time is small, we expect a steady increase in the use of the new process because of its benefits,” said Oglesby. “The new process saves time and money by automating actions that had been performed manually and by eliminating the need for contractors to travel to the bid site.”
In the long run, he added, DOTD also will save money by reducing the time required to input, check and verify bids.
The implementation of electronic bid submissions is the result of a directive last spring by Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry. Oglesby said implementation within six months was the product of concentrated effort by DOTD’s information technology, project control and the contracts and specifications sections.
“Most states take 18 to 24 months to implement the change,” he said.
Bid Express is a Web-based bidding information service developed by BidX.com Inc., a third-party service provider, exclusively for the highway industry through the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, or AASHTO.
AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The new process works like this: Contractors submit bids to BidX fully encrypted. After the posted bid receipt time, DOTD downloads the bid and removes the encryption.
DOTD started with a pilot group of 12 contractors who submitted test bids for a variety of project types. Then the department offered six training sessions for 100 contractors in December.
Approximately 30 states use some part of the Bid Express electronic system, but only a few are already accepting bids only by Internet, Oglesby said.
DOTD will continue to accept bids by both methods for the immediate future, he added.