Many of the maintenance and construction projects undertaken by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) span late spring to early fall (April–October), with this period’s long days, abundant sunshine, and relatively dry conditions being ideal for performing work and minimizing delays from inclement weather. But this compressed timeline for accomplishing work introduces other challenges. Specifically, many of KYTC’s maintenance and construction activities can potentially impact summer habitat of the Indiana bat, which is listed as an endangered species. Removing trees classified as Indiana bat habitat is allowed, however, to do so the Cabinet is required to pay a mitigation fee. The Cabinet frequently mitigates for the loss of bat habitat by paying a mitigation fee into the Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund (IBCF), which since its inception in 2006 has received over $20 million in contributions. Mitigation is not a straightforward activity, however, with the Cabinet navigating six periods of tree-cutting restrictions and a variable mitigation fee schedule. To understand the effects of tree-cutting restrictions on construction bids, Kentucky Transportation Center researchers spoke with several contractors throughout Kentucky to approximate the surcharges they impose based on project award date and period of tree-cutting restrictions. Equipped with this information, researchers established a method that KYTC staff can use to estimate mitigation fees and contractor surcharges under a variety of scenarios. While the scenarios discussed are relatively uncomplicated, the step-by-step method presented can be applied irrespective of the level of complexity associated with a project. Cabinet personnel, using this method, will be able to quickly compare the financial implications of different combinations of tree-cutting restrictions and mitigation fee rates.

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© 2018 University of Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Center

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