Washington State Department of Transportation Scoping and Cost Estimating for Highway Construction Projects
Report Type Final Report 
Date Published January 2010 
Publication Number 10-3 
2009-11 Transportation Budget
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The 2009-11 Transportation Budget directed this study. JLARC concluded that the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) policies and procedures for scoping and estimating the cost of highway construction projects currently align with industry guidelines.  In the course of synthesizing research literature, reviewing WSDOT policies and procedures, and observing practices on the ground, JLARC identified three issues to bring to the attention of policymakers as they consider the accuracy of highway project cost estimates. Time: when a transportation agency is given more time to fully understand a project’s needs and risks, there is greater chance for more accuracy in a project’s cost estimate.  Resources: investing more money into the scoping process may result in more accurate initial project cost estimates.  Communication: clear communication about project cost estimate uncertainty and the reasons why an estimate has changed is critical to maintaining stakeholder trust and building confidence in an estimate. The report also recommends that WSDOT project records include an easy-to-follow trail between cost estimates and budget requests.

John Woolley, Analyst
Ruth White, Analyst
Keenan Konopaski, Project Supervisor


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Number of Pages 40 
Keywords highways, Department of Transportation, transportation, construction 
Category Transportation