August 26
Comptroller General Teams with SCDOT to Pay Contractors Quickly

Over 400 payments processed in 24 hours


The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) announced on Thursday August 25, 2011 that $49 million had been sent to the Comptroller General’s Office for processing payments to contractors. These payments will continue to keep the agency’s cycle of paying contractors within 30 working days up-to-date. SCDOT is expecting another infusion of funds including state gas tax revenues and normal Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reimbursements within the first two weeks of September. The estimated revenue from both sources is $70+ million.


               The Comptroller General’s Office notified SCDOT late Thursday afternoon that all but a few of the 400+ payments had been processed and delivered to the contractors. A few payments required additional information or corrections before processing could be completed.


               Secretary of Transportation Robert St. Onge praised Comptroller Richard Eckstrom and his staff for their teamwork. “We applaud the effort made by Comptroller General Eckstrom and his people for the rapid turnaround in processing these payments to our contractors. This display of teamwork is what it takes to keeps the highway construction industry moving in our state,” said St. Onge.


               In August, SCDOT has made $125 million in contractor payments, vendor payments and payroll. Contractor payments reflect the agency’s overall effort to keep the maintenance program of the state highway system moving forward, to improve the safety of highways and bridges and to continue highway construction in South Carolina.


                Also this week, SCDOT received two awards from the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in recognition for the Best Transportation Projects in the Southeastern Region. The awards recognize state DOTs that are adapting to current economic situations with innovative approaches to completing projects more efficiently. The honors were presented at the Southeastern Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (SASHTO) in Louisville, Kentucky.


               In the Under Budget category, SCDOT was recognized for the I-385 widening and resurfacing project in Laurens County. The agency used an innovative and construction plan to “get in and get out early on this 15-mile section of interstate highway. The project was completed and opened to traffic in just short of eight months. The traditional methods would have taken three years to complete the project. In addition, the eight month schedule saved $34.6 million.



               SCDOT engineers completely closed the northbound lanes and designed a northbound detour to allow traffic to flow between Columbia and Greenville. The contractor worked around-the-clock when weather permitted to maintain the aggressive schedule. Work was completed on the northbound lanes in approximately four months. The completed northbound lanes were then reversed allowing southbound traffic to use the new lanes. The work was then done on the southbound lanes while the northbound detour remained in place.



               SCDOT won an award in the Innovative Management category for its “Plans Online” system developed by the Engineering Support Services office. This project converted 1.9 million digitally scanned image files of construction plans and made them available on the internet. The digital system replaced the storage and retrieval method of having to review plans in person, speeding up a process that took one or two days into one that only takes minutes. The Plans Online system is available internally to SCDOT employees, and externally to surveyors, engineers, city, county and local offices requiring access to the plans to complete their work. The system also greatly reduced the need for storage facilities for millions of sheets of old highway plans.