Lane Rental

Approval for Use
How it Works
Special Provisions
Background Information
Lane Rental Considerations



Lane Rental is used to minimize the impacts of a project on the traveling public. It is a method of transferring the roadway user costs to the contractor. The contractor must rent a lane in order to close it. This creates a monetary incentive for the contractor to be innovative and minimize the duration of lane closures.

The contractor makes decisions that consider the roadway user costs, both during the bid and as the contract progresses. The contractor's bid consists of a combination of the cost to perform the work (A component) with the cost of the impact to the public (B component) to provide the lowest cost to the public. By providing a more aggressive scheduling package, a contractor may be able to gain a competitive advantage by decreasing the overall impact to the traveling public and thereby reducing the amount for bid consideration.

Design Phase

During the design phase, the public impacts of the project are evaluated. The appropriate lane rental units and charges are determined. Lane rental time credit units will vary in size (minutes, hours, days) depending on the road user impacts, and will be as defined in the special provisions. For example, any section of one lane for any part of a working day is equal to one unit.

Bid Process

During the bidding process, the contractor determines the number of lane closures that will be required to complete the work. This number is included in the bid proposal.

After bids are opened, the contractor's lane rental bid is combined with the price proposal. The project is awarded to the contractor with the lowest adjusted bid. The number of "free" lane rental units in the contract is modified to reflect the awarded contractor's bid.

A lane rental closure is applied anytime a lane is closed, for any reason, to progress contract work. The project office tracks lane rentals.

Should the contractor go over the allotted amount, all additional lane rentals will be charged to "Lane Rental - Additional."

If a contract progresses into liquidated damages, the project office continues to track lane rentals but does not charge them. 


Approval for Use

The State Construction Engineer has conditionally approved lane rental on a pilot basis. The use of lane rental requires the approval of the State Specifications Engineer for the following reasons:

  • To assist in establishing an appropriate unit and value for the closure.
  • To concur that the application is appropriate. Commitments regarding application and notification have been made to industry, and we want to give this tool a fair chance to be successful.
  • Headquarters Construction needs to be aware of where lane rental is being used in order to monitor the effectiveness of the specification and provide lessons learned throughout the state.


How Lane Rental Works

The contract is awarded based on the lowest responsible bid, using the following formula:


The bid amount for evaluation = A+ (B x LRC)



Bidder's total estimate for all contract bid items (expressed in dollars).


Total number of days subject to lane closure, as defined previously, required to complete all contract work.


Lane rental cost. These costs can be variable and applied to one or more lanes during a construction project.

This formula is used as a measurement for awarding purposes only, and is not used to determine payment to the contractor. The low bidder may not be the successful bidder. A bidder who proposes to minimize user impacts realizes the value of that benefit as part of their bid. They also run the greatest risk for damages (overrun of lane rental time credits).

Once the contract is awarded, the number of lane rental closures is contractually set. The item "Lane Rental - Additional" is included in the contract to address any overruns in this item. An incentive provision is also included to reward the contractor if the work is completed earlier than the (B) portion bid.


Special Provisions/GSP

When using the Flexible Start Date provision several options may be considered, depending on the desired outcome.


Section 1-02.6, Preparation of Proposal


Supplement with the following:


A lane rental fee is included as part of this contract. The bidder shall establish the number of lanes necessary to complete the work by utilizing lane closures in accordance with the Plans and these Specifications and include this number in the bid proposal.


Definition of
A Lane Rental Credit shall be assessed for
The number of lane rental credits allowed shall not exceed (***$$2$$***) of lane closures and shall not be less than ***$$2$$*** of lane closure.


The product of the number of lane rental credits established by the bidder multiplied by the Lane Rental Cost shall be added to the bid total determined from all other bid items. The sum of these two amounts will be the amount used for comparison of bids to determine the lowest bid for award purposes. If a bidder fails to establish the number of lane rental credits, or if the bidder enters a number of lane rental credits not within the range specified above, the maximum credits shown above will be used for calculations to determine the lowest bid for award purposes. The product of lane rental credits times daily road user benefit costs will not be considered in determining payment to the contractor except as described in this special provision.


Note to designer: Requires an additional proposal page supplied through Pre-Contract Administration (similar to A+B bidding specification). Also requires the daily roadway user benefit to be entered on that additional proposal page.


Section 1-02.7, Amount of Bid Deposit:


Supplement with the following:


It will not be necessary for the bid deposit to include an amount to cover the product of lane rental credits of traffic control times daily road user benefit cost


Section 1-03.1, Consideration of Bids:


Supplement with the following:


Each bid submitted shall consist of two parts:



A = The dollar amount for all work to be performed under the contract
B = The total number of lane rental credits required to complete the work.


The lowest responsible bid will then be determined by the Contracting Agency as the lowest combination of (A) and (B) according to the following formula:



A + (B x Lane Rental Cost)

It is mutually agreed by the parties to the contract that ***$$3$$*** per lane rental credit of traffic impact is the stipulated adjustment for road user benefit costs. The preceding formula will only be used to determine the lowest responsible bidder and will not be used to determine final payment to the Contractor when the project is completed other than as described in this special provision.


Section 1-03.4, Contract Bond:


Supplement with the following:


It will not be necessary for the contract bond to include an amount to cover the product of lane rental credits of traffic impact times hourly road user benefit cost.




In the event that the contractor exceeds the number of lane rental credits established in the bid the Engineer shall take a credit under the unit item Additional Lane Rental Credits." Upon physical completion, the contractor will be paid for an under-run in lane rental credits under the item "Additional Lane Rental Credits.






Credits and Payments will be made per unit as described elsewhere in this special provision.


Background Information

What considerations need to be made to determine if the project lends itself to lane rental? 

The risk in using this type of tool is associated with changes and delays beyond the contractor's control. Changes in lane rental costs will have to be considered with regard to change orders. One way to reduce the chance of problems is to sort out the details of potential third party conflicts prior to construction, to the extent it is possible. These conflicts may involve utilities, railroad agreements, environmental/archaeological issues, hazardous materials, biohazards, public support issues, and other potential problems.

Consideration should also be given to whether a contractor, at the time of bid, can accurately predict the duration of all activities for the project. Larger, more complex projects may not be appropriate for lane rental.

Construction Cost with Lane Rental

Lane rental can increase construction cost. On a standard project, a contractor may see an opportunity to reduce the total impacts. A shorter duration solution may increase the primary item cost but reduce lane rental and overall traffic control costs. The contractor will try to determine the most advantageous bid while balancing the potential overrun in lane rental costs.

Designers should anticipate that there will be a cost for the reduction in days. Whether through acceleration, aggressive management of subcontractors, or specialty equipment, it is likely that the construction price will increase. In no case will the project cost increase greater than the incentive (road user benefit) being offered.

WSDOT construction engineering and inspection costs should be reduced due to the anticipated increase in multiple activities occurring concurrently coupled with the reduced amount of traffic control being used.

Safety Issues

Safety shall not be compromised. The contractor is required to comply with the approved Work Zone Traffic Control Plans along with other related contract requirements.

Number of Lane Rentals

A special provision allows for a maximum number of lane rentals to be specified. Doing so can provide an upper limit of the public impact allowed on the project. However, the purpose of a lane rental charge is ultimately to produce the best value product. If a contractor can provide a far cheaper bid with more public impacts, this may be the best solution. The challenge is to set the lane rental charge at an appropriate level.

Lane Rental Charges and Liquidated Damages

Section 1-08.9 states that liquidated damages are for delays that inconvenience the traveling public, obstruct traffic, interfere with and delay commerce, and increase risks to highway users. For that loss of lane use, WSDOT charges liquidated damages. We do not charge the contractor for lane closures during this time frame, it would be a duplication of the liquidated damages.

Change orders (added and deleted work)

Change orders need to adjust lane rental days as they would any other contract item that is impacted by the change. Projects that have a likelihood of a large number of changes may not be good candidates for lane rental.

Pricing Lane Rental by Time of Day

The lane rental may be broken out by time of day. We can also break out the number of lanes closed at a location.

Time Credits

The lane rental specification identified time in terms of units. These units, once defined, are established in the contractor's initial bid. The lowest combination of the construction cost combined with the time units required would establish the winning bid.

Once the contract is awarded, time credits will be tracked much like working days. Should a contractor go over the bid amount, the credits will continue to be charged. The unit item "Lane Rental Units - Additional" should be included in the contract and entries made based upon an established value. These units are deducted as a standard item.

Overrun of Lane Rental Days

Traffic control items are generally reimbursed as unit items. The intention of lane rental is not to punish, but rather to reward a contractor for sound management and appropriate risk taking.

Lane Rental Considerations

Consider these factors when selecting lane rental for a project:

  • Traffic restrictions or lane closures with no (or limited) alternate routes result in a high user cost.
  • The project is relatively free of third party conflicts that are outside the control of the contract (right of way, utility, environmental, etc.).
  • There is a high degree of confidence that design uncertainties have been addressed in the plans.
  • A reasonable contractor can accurately schedule (and bid) the amount of necessary lane closures to complete the work as described.
  • "Closures" can be well defined.
  • Opportunities exist to reduce closure times.
  • User fees are substantial enough to offset the cost of the effort to reduce the closure time.