Information on Bidding with TDOT

Items for First Time Bidders and Reminders for Regular Bidders

The below items are provided as information to contractors wishing to bid on projects in any TDOT Letting as the prime contractor. Any requirement that also applies to subcontractors will be noted as such. This is not a comprehensive list - refer to the current Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction, letting specific instructions to bidders, and all proposal and letting documents for further information, guideance and requirements. It is the contractors responsibility to ensure they are in good standing with all of the requirements for bidding and entering in to contract with the Department.


Contractor Prequalification

All contractors wanting to bid as prime on a proposal must be prequalified and in good standing with the Department prior to issuance of a proposal form (you must prequalified in order to place a bid).  The Prequalification Questionnaire must be filed with the Department at least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of any letting in which the applicant wishes to submit a bid on (i.e. if a letting is on Friday the 15th, the prequalification questionnaire must be received by the Department no later than Friday the 1st in order for your request to bid be considered).  It is recommended to all bidders to check your company's prequalification status well in advance of any letting to ensure your company's prequalification is in good standing. An application for prequalification must be filed on the Department’s prequalification questionnaire form annually. Prequalification with the Department, if approved, is effective for a period of one year, plus a three-month grace period, beginning with the Fiscal Year End date shown on the front page of the questionnaire (not one year from the date approved).  The prequalification questionnaire must be filled out completely, and the truth and accuracy of the information provided must be certified by a sworn affidavit signed by an officer, partner, owner or other authorized representative of the applicant who has authority to sign contracts or other legal documents on behalf of the applicant.

Contractors are also required to be prequalified prior to being approved as a subcontractor. The prequalification questionnaire must be filed with the Department at least fourteen (14) days prior to the date on which the applicant requests approval as a subcontractor under a contract awarded by the Department. 

For more information regarding contractor prequalifications, click here.

Contractors License

The Department shall require that all prime contractors, except mowing and litter removal contractors, are to be licensed with the State of Tennessee, Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI), Board for Licensing Contractors (BLC). The prime contractor must be licensed in the general classification (i.e. Heavy Construction (HC), Highway, Railroad, Airport Construction (HRA), Specialty (S), Municipal and Utility Construction (MU), or Electrical Contracting (CE)) for the type of work in the project which they will perform. Bidders may submit a proposal without having a license and will be considered for award for twenty-one (21) days after proposals are opened. If the Bidder does not have a license with the TDCI, on or before twenty- one (21) days after proposals are opened, the Bidder will be considered non-responsive and their proposal will be rejected.

It is recommended that all prime contractors who are not currently licensed and intend to bid on future projects begin the process to obtain their contractor’s license well in advance of the letting.

Registry with the Secretary of State

Title 48 of Tenn. Code Ann. requires all contractors and subcontractors that are domestic or foreign Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships, or Limited Liability Partnerships to be in good standing with the Secretary of State. This includes being duly incorporated, authorized to transact business, and/or in compliance with other requirements as detailed by the Secretary of State. Please contact the Secretary of State should you have any questions at (615) 741-2286.

The Department will not execute any contracts or approve subcontracts with contractors that are domestic or foreign Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships, or Limited Liability Partnerships, who are not in good standing with the Secretary of State (i.e. have a valid Certificate of Existence/Authorization). If a Bidder is not in good standing with the Secretary of State (i.e. have a valid Certificate of Existence/Authorization) on or before twenty-one (21) days after proposals are opened then the Bidder will be considered non-responsive and their bid will be rejected.

Bid Authorization Form

All contractors wanting to bid as prime on a proposal must submit a request for authorization to bid via the Bid Authorization Form provided on the letting page of the Construction Division’s website. This form must be complete before authorization to bid is given. Bid Authorization Forms must be received by the Department by 4:00 P.M. Central the day before the letting. A charge of $25.00 will be made for each bid that is authorized. Any bid submitted via the Internet that is not authorized will not be considered.

Issuance of Bidding Documents

All proposals in which bids are to be received will be advertised through a Notice to Contractors on the Construction Division's website. Any addenda to the proposals and amendments to the electronic bid files will be posted on the Bid Express website. Addenda must be acknowledged by all bidders through the electronic bidding program. It is the bidder’s responsibility to monitor the Bid Express website for Addenda until 4:00 P.M. Central the day before the letting. Bidders will not be notified by the Department unless Addenda are issued after 4:00 P.M. Central the day before the letting. Failure to acknowledge receipt of Addendum Letters or to apply any applicable amendments to the electronic bidding file is grounds for rejection. 

All questions regarding a specific proposal should be directed to the Assistant Director of Construction for that region. See the Construction Division's staff page for contact information. 

Bid Express & AASHTOWare Project Bids

Prime contractors are required to submit their bid electronically to Bid Express through the AASHTOWare Project Bids software. A step by step instruction guide from Bid Express on how to get set up in their system is available here. Your Bidder ID referenced in step four (4) of this guide is the Vendor ID assigned to your company when going through the prequalification process. Please note that step five (5) of this guide is a request to use your digital ID with TDOT, which is a separate step from the bid authorization form mentioned above

The AASHTOWare Project Bids software is available free of charge here

AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor (CRL)

TDOT requires all prompt payment information and contract payrolls to be submitted using the AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor (CRL) software. To gain access to the system, your company will need to submit an External Access Registration Form signed by an authorized signer as listed in your latest/current prequalification questionnaire submitted to the Department. Training files and resources can be found on our website for each component by selecting the following links per the respective module: Certified Payrolls or Prompt Payment

It is the contractor's responsibility to ensure all payrolls (including subcontractor payrolls) are submitted each week in which any contract work is performed, that all required information for prompt payment is entered,  and that all payrolls and prompt payment entries are certified electronically in CRL. Progress payments shall be withheld until payrolls are submitted/certified and prompt payment is recorded/certified, each per their respective timelines (refer to the TDOT specifications for each).

It is highly recommended to ensure your company is set up with access and have an established method for submitting certified payrolls that is compatible with the CRL requirements.

Bid Guaranty

Each bid must be accompanied by an electronic bid bond or a Cashier's or Certified Check made payable to the Department of Transportation, or Irrevocable Letter of Credit naming the Department as beneficiary (for Mowing and Litter projects only), in an amount equaling not less than five percent (5%) of the amount bid. If a bid bond is offered as guaranty, the bond must be submitted electronically via the AASHTOWare Project Bids bid file, must be made by a surety company qualified and authorized to transact business in the State of Tennessee and must be acceptable to the Department. If a check is offered as guaranty, the check must be in the Department’s possession by 10:00 A.M. the day of the bid opening and must be attached to the signed Proposal Guarantee form (located in the back of each proposal book). The check of the successful bidder will be cashable at the discretion of the Commissioner, pending the satisfactory execution and acceptance of the contract and the contract bond. 

(Mowing and Litter Projects Only) If an Irrevocable Letter of Credit is offered as guaranty, the Proposal Guaranty Irrevocable Letter of Credit, which will be available on the Construction Division’s website, must be signed by an authorized official of an authorized financial institution and in the Department’s possession by 10:00 A.M. the day of the bid opening.

Unbalanced Bidding

All potential bidders should read the attached memorandum regarding the TDOT policy and specifications for unbalanced bid items (PDF).

Bid Conditioning Letters 

Bidders are allowed to condition their bids in accordance with Subsection 102.09 of the Standard Specifications by mailing or emailing a conditioning letter to the Construction Division. Letters should be emailed to Letters must be on company letterhead, signed by an authorized signatory of the company as listed on the latest prequalification submitted to the Department, and in the Department’s possession prior to 10:00 A.M. Central on the date of the letting. Letters will be posted on the Internet as soon as possible after the bid opening.

Subcontractor Bid Quotes

All bidders for each project must provide a list of all subcontractors who provided a quote to perform work. The list shall be provided electronically on the TDOT form “Certification Regarding Subcontractor Bid Quotes” (Bidders List) and include the type of work in which quotes were submitted.  All bidders shall submit this form before the close of business (4:30 PM, Central Time) five (5) calendar days after the date on which bids are required to be submitted (e.g., if bids are required to be submitted on a Friday, then the completed form is due by 4:30 PM on the following Wednesday). Emergency Letting contracts and Mowing and Litter contracts will not require a bidders list. Failure to complete and submit this form within the time period required may result in the proposal being deemed non-responsive and forfeiture of bid bond for the bidder.  Any bidder that fails to submit the required bidders list may have their prequalification status changed and ability to bid as prime contractor rescinded.  

Joint Ventures

When two or more contractors wish to bid together in a joint venture, each contractor will be required to make a written request to the Construction Division. This request shall be signed by an authorized signatory of each firm. In addition, a Bid Authorization Form must be submitted in the name of the joint venture.