MDOT Issues Guidance on Field Operations During The COVID-19 Outbreak


On Monday, March 23, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 (EO), which ordered the temporary suspension of all in-person business operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The EO provides that business operations that are necessary to sustain or protect life include business operations critical to the operation, construction, and maintenance of critical transportation and infrastructure.  The Michigan Department of Transportation confirmed, on Tuesday, March 25, 2020, that it understood the EO as stating that Michigan’s transportation and infrastructure system is considered critical infrastructure and the construction and maintenance of Michigan’s transportation and infrastructure by MDOT’s employees and contractors and consultants are allowed to proceed.  In relation to the EO and its confirmation about it, MDOT issued COVID-19 Field Operations Guidance (Guidance) on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, for the purpose of ensuring that all employees working in the field performing critical infrastructure functions on behalf of MDOT are provided instructions and resources to keep themselves and their co-workers safe during the COVID-19 outbreak and to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

The Guidance can be viewed and downloaded here.

The Guidance indicates that pursuant to MDOT Standard Specification for Construction 104.07.B, 107.01, and 107.05, the Engineer shall require the Contractor to develop and submit a project-specific COVID-19 guidance document.  The Contractor’s guidance document must explain how individuals engaged in the work of the project shall conduct activities in the field that are consistent with the practices of social distancing and the universal precautions recommended by the Center for Disease Control as they relate to COVID-19.   Individuals covered by the Contractor’s guidance document include employees of the Contractor, subcontractors, suppliers, vendors, MDOT staff, consultant staff, local agency staff, regulatory agency personnel, utility company personnel, etc.).  The Guidance provides that an initial version of the Contractor’s guidance document shall be completed and issued as soon as possible, but by no later than noon on Friday, March 27, 2020.

The Guidance also indicates that MDOT’s Transportation Maintenance Coordinators and Engineers and supervisors of each operation (maintenance garage, bridge operation, etc.) shall create guidance documents similar to the Contractor’s guidance document and complete and issue them as soon as possible, but by no later than noon on Friday, March 27, 2020.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Guidance or need any assistance in preparing the above-mentioned guidance document(s), or if you have any questions or concerns or need any assistance in handling any matters with respect to COVID-19 and your contracts and projects, please do not hesitate to contact the author of this alert or any of the attorneys in Butzel Long's Construction Law Practice Group.

Michael C. Decker                                                              

Eric J. Flessland                                                              

James J. Urban                                                              

Paul M. Mersino                                                 

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