147.2 Add Alternate Bidding

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147.2.1 Purpose of Add Alternate Bidding

In an effort to fully utilize the budget available and maximize the amount of work awarded within a project budget, the district may use a bidding technique called Add Alternate Bidding. Add alternates are additional items of work that may be awarded as part of the contract if the bids come within the budget specified in the contract. Add alternates may include adding length or additional quantity to a project of similar type work or adding enhancements of different type work to a project. Examples of add alternate projects awarded to date include pavement overlays, signal improvements, adding lanes and striping, and sidewalk and landscape enhancements.

147.2.2 Add Alternate Budget

The contract defined budget will be the basis for award of add alternates to the lowest responsive bidder who can provide the most amount of work (base plus add alternates) within the budget. The budget for add alternates may be defined in many different ways but must be specifically included in the JSPs for the contract. This provides a transparent bidding process for contractors so that they know the basis of award. The budget is typically based on the budget specified in the STIP for each project. The budget can also be based on funding by others. In this scenario, the funding source must provide the budget for basis of award prior to advertisement and be included in the JSPs for the contract. Contracts may also be set up so that the award of add alternates is based on the budget of multiple projects. The budget may be based on the sum of all the project specific STIP budgets or may be based on some other district or statewide budget. For example, MoDOT routinely provides districts with a fixed budget for a specific work program and the district is asked to complete as much work as possible within that budget. For this scenario, the budget would be based on the funds remaining from the district wide budget for the specific work program and not based on project specific budgets. The District should involve the Central Office Bidding and Contract Services Section with the set up of these types of projects early in the development stage. If the contracting set up is unique or more complex than the traditional add alternate approach, the district is encouraged to have a pre-bid meeting to educate contractors on the overall intent.

Add alternates cannot reduce the scope committed to in the STIP. The base project must include all work committed to in the STIP, and the add alternate may be used for any additional work not specifically committed to in the STIP. Districts are encouraged to work with Transportation Planning to develop proper scoping language to provide maximum flexibility.

147.2.3 Add Alternate Sections

The determination of add alternate sections is based on the budget. In general, add alternate sections should be ten percent of the project budget or a minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of 50% of the base. Ideally, the base section should be no more than ten percent above the budget with no more than two add alternate sections. Add alternate sections for paving projects should be setup at logical termini. Add alternate sections for other types of work should include all items necessary to complete the work regardless of the award of other alternates.

147.2.4 Job Special Provision, Plans, and Estimate for Add Alternate Sections

Job Special Provision (JSP): If add alternates are utilized on a project, the project must contain the Add Alternate Sections JSP. The JSP must clearly define the priority of add alternates which will be considered for award, and the project budget must be specified in the JSP.

Plans: Plans for all projects with add alternate sections should include the following:

  • Title Sheets should clearly define the base and add alternates. Separate typical sections sheets for each add alternate, including station limits, and all side road connections.
  • One set of quantity sheets with separate sheets for the items associated with the base work and each alternate section.


  • Using the "Bidtabs.net" program, the pay items associated with the base work (designated as "Base") should be designated in "Section 01". The pay items associated with add alternates (designated as "Add Alt A - Description", “Add Alt B – Description, etc.) should be designated in "Sections 50-69". This will enable summation of the appropriate subtotals to compile an estimated total cost per add alternate.
  • The same pay item can be used in multiple sections but should be the quantity for the appropriate section.
  • Each add alternate section must contain a separate pay item for mobilization.

For thin lift overlay projects, projects are typically setup with a project number for each route and let in required combination.

  • MoDOT has the option of setting up multiple routes under one project number with some of the routes being add alternate sections. If this approach is used, the estimate must be submitted with separate sections for each route. Section 01 is reserved for the base roadway items which should include the base route(s) and all items that are common to all of the routes, including traffic control (1 moving operation setup) or other miscellaneous items that apply regardless of the number of routes awarded. The subsequent sections should include the asphalt quantities for each additional route; mobilization, tack, coldmilling, pavement marking, and permanent construction signs (when applicable). The description for each subsequent section should include the route designation and add alternate description (i.e. Base – general roadway & Route Z, Add Alt A – Route D, Add Alt B – Route CC, etc.).

147.2.5 DBE Goal

For projects containing add alternates, a separate DBE contract goal percentage will be established for the base project and each add alternate.

147.2.6 Contract Time and Liquidated Damages

The contract completion date, calendar/working days and liquidated damages for contracts that include “add alternates” should be based on the assumption that all “add alternates” are to be awarded. If it is determined the add alternates significantly impact the completion of work then the “Contract Liquidated Damages – JSP-13-01” Job Special Provision should be used to define the calendar/working days and liquidated damages for the base work and each add alternate.

147.2.7 Award of Base Projects

The base project will be awarded or rejected in accordance with Sec. 100 of the spec book to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

147.2.8 Award of Add Alternates

An add alternate may only be awarded if the base project is within the Commission’s budget specified in the contract. The award of “add alternates” will be determined by the Design Division based on the budget and add alternate priorities identified in the contract.

The Commission reserves the right to award the combination of highest priority add alternate section over the Commission’s budget as long as the low bidder does not change and the award of the combination of highest priority alternate sections does not exceed more than ten percent or $250,000 of the Commission’s budget, whichever is less. The $250,000 limitation may be omitted when add alternates are being prioritized for a district wide budget. The priority of add alternates cannot be altered to move alternates up in priority to maximize the budget (i.e. mix and match alternates to get as close to the budget as possible). This is not allowed because it would allow the possibility for unbalanced bidding on alternates that contractors prefer to construct resulting in award of alternates that are not the highest priority for MoDOT. The priorities also must be clearly defined to avoid the perception that MoDOT is awarding contracts based on the bidder rather than the lowest bid for the highest priority work.