Below are links and updates on the ever changing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to the concrete pavement industry in Pennsylvania.
PennDOT Press Release (March 31) The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that 61 emergency and critical highway and bridge projects will be active statewide this week. While the normal highway and bridge construction program has paused as the commonwealth addresses COVID-19 response, urgent emergency work has continued to ensure a reliable transportation system as circumstances surrounding COVID-19 continue to unfold. On March 17, in response to Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation guidance, PennDOT paused construction projects statewide to minimize COVID-19 exposure for PennDOT and private-sector employees, as well as the communities where they live and work. For any work activity addressing critical asset issues, strategies are deployed that include cleanliness protocols for jobsites and offices, social distancing guidelines, procedures to address employee sickness, and the safe handling of material deliveries. The emergency work that continues addresses specific safety need criteria, such as landslide repairs, or critical bridge, tunnel and drainage repairs, and work needed to eliminate roadway restrictions that could impede the ability for the movement of life sustaining goods and services. Conditions are continuously evaluated to determine the appropriate response. More COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov. For more information, visit www.dmv.pa.gov or www.PennDOT.gov.
COVID Guidance Issued on ECMS (March 30). Guidance for the following operations has been posted on ECMS. We recommend you become familiar with the following documents.
- COVID19 Hygiene and Cleaning Best Practices
- Guidelines for Maintaining Life Sustaining Operations on Construction Projects
- UAS Usage for Construction Inspection
- Entering PennDOT Facilities During COVID-19 Mitigation
- Protocol 32 – PennDOT Vehicles-Equipemnt Cleanliness
Thirteen projects remain on the April 2 letting schedule. The Department is moving other projects to subsequent letting dates and some will be move even further out.
Senators to Introduce Legislation (March 30). Senators Arnold, Bartlotta, DiSanto, and Laughlin are co-sponsoring legislation that would allow the resumption of both public and private construction, so long as measures outlined by the CDC are adhered to.
Call to Action from our National Association Coalition (March 30). We need to let our elected officials know that the highway construction industry as well as any construction must be designated as an essential industry (in Pennsylvania a “life-sustaining” industry”) to ensure that projects vital to our economy and our ability to fight COVID-19 continue uninterrupted. At the National level, ACPA, PCA, NRMCA, NSSGA, and NAPA are asking all to click this LINK to send a pre-written and edit-able letter to your Governor. Also, please feel free to share this call-to-action with others in your company to urge their support and assistance.
Speaker to Introduce Legislation (March 28). The speaker of the state House plans to introduce legislation that would allow all construction projects in the state to resume; projects were suspended under Governor Wolf’s closure of non-life-sustaining businesses on March 19. House Bill 2400 would categorize heavy and highway construction as a life-sustaining industry and would call for the continuation of construction projects so long as contractors follow the guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus through the regulations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Project Restart Efforts (March 27) A team including representatives from PennDOT, the Turnpike, FHWA/PA, APC, and ACEC/PA, with input from ACPA/PA. PACA, PAPA, CAEP and CAWP have worked collectively and diligently to develop COVID-19 guidance to safely restart heavy highway construction projects in Pennsylvania. This proposed guidance plan has been completed and will be submitted to the Governor for his review as early as next week. Also, currently, 13 projects are still posted for letting on April 2. As soon as the letting can be confirmed, information will be posted in ECMS. with some projects possibly being moved to subsequent letting dates.
Project Restart Efforts (March 26). Several teams were formed to develop guidance and direction on resuming heavy highway construction. on Safety, Phase in of Projects, Risk Based Inspection, and more.
PennDOT April 2 Letting (March 26). At this time, PennDOT hopes to open some bids on April 2 but that could change. The Department is in the process of reallocating projects currently assigned a let date of April 2, 2020. PennDOT is currently evaluating projects to be bid on April 2, 2020 and will modify the let schedule in ECMS as project letting decisions are made.
N95 Masks Still Needed (March 26). The Chapter thanks our member companies and other that have donated their limited supply of N95 masks to local hospital and healthcare facilities. If you have a personal story of interest to share, please drop the Chapter a note at Penn@Pavement.com.
OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (March 26). Click HERE
Pub 408 Clarification (March 25). The effective date of Pub 408/2020-IE will remain April 10, 2020. However, in response to the Department’s mitigation guidance for COVID-19, including the Department’s decision to move the let dates of multiple advertised projects, clarification is being issued in the Department’s MEMO
Categorizing Commercial Construction as a Life-Sustaining Industry (March 25) . A coalition of twenty organizations (including ACPA/PA, ACEC/PA, PACA, PPA and the PCMA) have requested consideration that commercial construction (along with residential construction), be classified as a life-sustaining industry.
Updated List of Life-Sustaining Companies (March 24). Click HERE to access the most recent list of professions that can or cannot work in Pennsylvania at this time – the list may be updated again in the near future. Construction unfortunately is still out except for emergency repairs and health care facilities; ACPA/PA along with other groups in our coalition continue to address this issue.
Categorizing Highway Construction as a Life-Sustaining Industry (March 21). A coalition of seven associations joined together to request of the Governor consideration that heavy highway to be classified as a life sustaining industry, and to permit work on PennDOT and Turnpike projects to resume in a safe manner.
- Highway Construction Coalition Joint Letter to Governor
- Speaker of the House Letter to Governor
- Senate & House Transportation Committee Joint Letter