Maryland Highway Agency Begins Providing Contractors Free PDFs of Project Plans

AASHTO Journal, 7 August 2015

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration eliminated fees it previously charged for printed versions of state highway construction engineering plans, and is now giving contractors free access to the electronic files.

Gov. Larry Hogan touted that as an example of him delivering on a pledge to make Maryland government more business-friendly and efficient.

Previously, the agency printed engineering plans and sold copies at the agency’s Baltimore office to potential project bidders at prices ranging from $15 to $175, allowing it to recover printing costs.

But as of July 1 the SHA started providing free electronic plans online at e-Maryland Marketplace with project advertisements, letting contractors have instant access and saving them money and the time spent going to the SHA office for paper copies.

The agency’s announcement said using the PDF files also allows contractors to review plans as soon as projects are advertised, and share them with potential subcontractors and partners in preparing a bid.

“The e-plans improve efficiency for hundreds of businesses, increase competitiveness for the overall industry, and eliminate tens of thousands of pounds of paper usage,” it said.

Hogan said past Maryland practices “made doing business with the state costly and cumbersome. By eliminating this bothersome fee and allowing contractors to download engineering plans from their computers instead of driving to Baltimore, we are helping businesses save time and money.”

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