Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Special Provisions

Federal requirements

Open competitive bidding by private enterprises is a basic tenet of the federal-aid program since it provides equal economic opportunity for private enterprises and permits projects to be completed at the lowest possible cost.

Federal requirements must be followed on federal-aid construction contracts. The roles and responsibilities of FHWA and MnDOT with respect to project approvals and related responsibilities, the methods of oversight which will be used to efficiently and effectively deliver the Federal Aid Highway Program are documented in the FHWA Stewardship and Oversight Agreement (PDF) and FHWA-MnDOT Memorandum of Understanding (PDF).

Federal requirements provide for exceptions to requirements when justified with documentation of Public Interest Findings (PIFs), Certifications (Certs) and Cost Effectiveness Findings (CEFs). The three documents have slightly different purposes:

  • PIFs clearly demonstrate that the proposed deviation is more beneficial to the public than meeting the requirement.
  • Certs allow the State or Local Agency official to attest that the benefit of using a material, product or piece of equipment supports the request to waive the requirement.
  • CEFs clearly demonstrate that the proposed deviation is more cost effective than meeting the requirement.

A project may require multiple PIFs, Certs, or CEFs depending on the project scope, complexity or the procurement method(s) used.

Key points to consider during project development

  • Environmental documents must be publicly accessible and used as the basis for determining the scope of work that is eligible for federal funding.
  • Environmental commitments must be addressed in the construction plans and special provisions.
  • Construction contracts must be awarded using a competitive contracting method with allowances for other options only in special circumstances.
  • State furnished materials and/or labor must be justified by a PIF or CEF to be used on a construction contract.
  • Public agencies are not permitted to bid in competition with private enterprise
  • Buy America requirements apply to all federal aid construction contracts.
  • Form FHWA-1273 (PDF) must be included in construction contract and all subconsultant contracts.

Early procurement of materials for federally funded projects

Two project specific PIFs are required for early procurement of materials. One for the material early procurement contract and one for providing and installing the material on the project.

Project specific materials furnished to the Contractor must be procured through competitive bidding, unless there is a PIF for another approved procurement method, and meet the following requirements:

  • Work is included in the scope of an Approved NEPA document.
  • Have a roadway plan title sheet denoting the material being procured and the federal project number.
  • The federal project number will not appear on the Bridge Plan title sheet.
  • Be authorized by FHWA prior to advertising.
  • Include Buy America requirements in both contracts.
  • Comply with Prohibition on Use of State Preferences (see 23 USC 112, 23 CFR 635.112, and 23 CFR 635.409).
  • Not include Patented or Proprietary Items for traffic control items (see Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) page I-1.
  • Comply with Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (see ยง200.319 Competition)


Right-of-way public interest findings

Right-of-way PIFs are processed by the Office of Land Management.

If a Right-of-way PIF is required for a project, note it in the submittal memo and include Special Provision (1718) Furnishing Right Of Way in the Division S submitted by the District.