23 CFR § 635.114 - Award of contract and concurrence in award.
(a) Federal-aid contracts shall be awarded only on the basis of the lowest responsive bid submitted by a bidder meeting the criteria of responsibility as may have been established by the State DOT in accordance with § 635.110. Award shall be within the time established by the State DOT and subject to the prior concurrence of the Division Administrator.
(b) The State DOT shall formally request concurrence by the Division Administrator in the award of all Federal-aid contracts. Concurrence in award by the Division Administrator is a prerequisite to Federal participation in construction costs and is considered as authority to proceed with construction, unless specifically stated otherwise. Concurrence in award shall be formally approved and shall only be given after receipt and review of the tabulation of bids.
(c) Following the opening of bids, the State DOT shall examine the unit bid prices of the apparent low bid for reasonable conformance with the engineer's estimated prices. A bid with extreme variations from the engineer's estimate, or where obvious unbalancing of unit prices has occurred, shall be thoroughly evaluated.
(d) Where obvious unbalanced bid items exist, the State DOT's decision to award or reject a bid shall be supported by written justification. A bid found to be mathematically unbalanced, but not found to be materially unbalanced, may be awarded.
(e) When a low bid is determined to be both mathematically and materially unbalanced, the Division Administrator will take appropriate steps to protect the Federal interest. This action may be concurrence in a State DOT decision not to award the contract. If, however, the State DOT decides to proceed with the award and requests FHWA concurrence, the Division Administrator's action may range from nonconcurrence to concurrence with contingency conditions limiting Federal participation.
(f) If the State DOT determines that the lowest bid is not responsive or the bidder is not responsible, it shall so notify and obtain the Division Administrator's concurrence before making an award to the next lowest bidder.
(g) If the State DOT rejects or declines to read or consider a low bid on the grounds that it is not responsive because of noncompliance with a requirement which was not clearly identified in the bidding documents, it shall submit justification for its action. If such justification is not considered by the Division Administrator to be sufficient, concurrence will not be given to award to another bidder on the contract at the same letting.
(h) Any proposal by the State DOT to reject all bids received for a Federal-aid contract shall be submitted to the Division Administrator for concurrence, accompanied by adequate justification.
(i) In the event the low bidder selected by the State DOT for contract award forfeits the bid guarantee, the State DOT may dispose of the amounts of such forfeited guarantees in accordance with its normal practices.
(j) A copy of the executed contract between the State DOT and the construction contractor should be furnished to the Division Administrator as soon as practicable after execution.
(k) In the case of a design-build project, the following requirements apply: Design-build contracts shall be awarded in accordance with the Request for Proposals document. See 23 CFR Part 636, Design-build Contracting, for details.
(l) In the case of a CM/GC project, the CM/GC contract shall be awarded in accordance with the solicitation document. See subpart E for CM/GC project approval procedures.
(m) In the case of an ID/IQ project, the ID/IQ contract shall be awarded in accordance with the solicitation document. See subpart F of this part for ID/IQ project approval procedures.
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