Falling Road Fund receipts have placed added strain on the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) already-underfunded highway program. Revenue declines have increased the urgency of improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Cabinet’s operations. One method KYTC can use to realize greater cost savings is improving the administration of construction projects. Effective field communication and administration helps control construction costs, enhances quality, and minimizes delays and claims. One challenge the Cabinet will need to confront to more effectively administer projects, however, is the loss of institutional knowledge associated with staff attrition. The report documents KYTC current methods for project staffing, communication, and partnering. It summarizes best practices for field communication and administration used throughout the private and public sector construction industries and discusses findings obtained through interviews with Cabinet staff and industry representatives on the issues in-house staff and external contractors routinely negotiate during projects. Based on analysis of these interviews and the literature reviewed, the report identifies five issues that are commonly encountered on KYTC construction projects and puts forward recommendations for ameliorating them. Additionally, it proposes a new initiative — Putting the Project First — which has as its goal the development of tools, practices, guidance, and training to meet stakeholder needs across all project types. Several recommendations, which can be enacted over the short-, intermediate-, and long-term are advanced to build a sound and practical foundation for all Putting the Project First activities. This initiative will strengthen relationships between the Cabinet and its contractors. It will also help build an institutional framework for conducting field communications and administration, one resilient in the face of staff turnover.

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© 2018 University of Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Center

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation Center, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the United States Department of Transportation, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names is for identification purposes and should not be considered an endorsement.