(a) It shall be the duty of the Department of Transportation to designate the roads to be constructed, repaired, and maintained and to construct, standardize, repair, and maintain roads and bridges of this state; and it shall have authority to make contracts or agreements to construct or pave the roadway only of the street or streets which will serve to connect the state highway constructed or repaired by the department within any municipality in the State of Alabama.
(b) In such municipalities in which the Department of Transportation has not designated the street or streets which are a part of the state highways constructed or repaired by the department, it shall be the duty of the department to designate such street or streets. The department may also cooperate or contract with any municipality or county in the paving or improving of any street or streets, highway or highways, or walkway or walkways upon which a state educational or eleemosynary institution, or the property thereof, may front or abut; provided, that where the state educational or eleemosynary institution or the property thereof fronts or abuts on both sides of such street or streets, highway or highways, or walkway or walkways, the department is hereby authorized to and shall expend an amount of money sufficient to cover the entire cost thereof; provided further, that where such institution or the property thereof fronts or abuts on only one side of such street or streets, highway or highways, or walkway or walkways, the department shall expend an amount of money sufficient to cover only one half of the cost thereof; provided, that in such case, with the special approval of the Governor, the department shall be authorized to expend a sum of money sufficient for the entire cost and, provided further, the department may also, with the special approval of the Governor, improve or pave any street or streets, driveway or driveways, including curb and gutter, and walkway or walkways on, by, or through the grounds upon which a state educational or eleemosynary institution is located and to pay the entire cost thereof.
(c) The Department of Transportation shall cause to be made and kept in its office a general highway map of the state which shall show all state roads.
(d) The Department of Transportation shall collect information and prepare statistics relative to the mileage, character, and condition of the roads and bridges in all counties of the state.
(e) The Department of Transportation shall investigate and determine the methods of road construction best adapted to the various sections of the state and shall establish standards for the maintenance of roads and bridges which have been constructed with state aid.
(f) The Department of Transportation may, at all reasonable times, be consulted by county and municipal officials relative to any matter relating to the construction of roads and bridges or culverts, and the department may also call on all county and municipal officials for any information or assistance it may require and it shall be their duty to supply the same.
(g) The Department of Transportation shall determine the character and have the general supervision over the construction and maintenance of all the public roads, bridges, and culverts in the state where the funds of the state are used and shall have a general supervision over the expenditure of any funds apportioned to any county of the state for the construction and maintenance of all public roads, bridges, and culverts in each county.
(h)(1) In addition to any other authority to enter into contracts for construction of a public road, bridge, or tunnel, and work incidental or related thereto, as may be provided by law, the Department of Transportation may enter into contracts, agreements, or understandings with any other public and private parties including, but not limited to, all of the following: Individuals, corporations, partnerships, joint ventures, limited liability companies, and other private parties; public or private partnerships, or both, or other similar joint ventures; the federal government; any department, agency, governmental or quasi-governmental body, public corporation, instrumentality, or subdivision of the United States, the State of Alabama, or any other state of the United States, or any agency, governmental or quasi-governmental body, instrumentality, or subdivision thereof, for the construction of a public road, bridge, or tunnel, and work incidental or related thereto, under the jurisdiction of the department, or any part thereof, including, but not limited to, the following:
a. Design-build, design-build-operate, design-build-own-operate, design-build-own-operate-maintain, design-build-finance-operate-maintain, or other similar arrangements or agreements pursuant to which the design, right-of-way acquisition, relocation of structures or utilities, construction, financing, ownership, management, maintenance, and operation, or any combination thereof, of a public road, bridge, or tunnel project is accomplished by the department or on behalf of the department by any of the aforementioned entities or methods.
b. Leases, licenses, franchises, concessions, or other agreements for the development, operation, management, or undertaking of all or any part of a public road, bridge, or tunnel project.
(2) The public road, bridge, or tunnel project may be awarded through any existing procurement authority, proposals, or other means of procurement used for public works projects delivered as provided in subdivision (1).
(3) The department may enter into a contract for a public road, bridge, or tunnel project under this section when the estimated, projected, or budgeted construction cost is not less than one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000). The department shall not group projects that are more than one mile apart in order to meet the $100 million construction cost requirement. This section shall not apply to asphalt pavement resurfacing projects.
(4) The department shall develop procedures to implement this section, including, but not limited to, proposal content, selection criteria, prequalification, applicant interview, proposal evaluation, proposal negotiation, selection, and award, which will be outlined in each department request for proposal.
(5) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, proposals under this section, with respect to public road, bridge, or tunnel projects that the department determines can be more efficiently accomplished by any of the means enumerated in subdivision (1), may be evaluated and awarded by the department based on qualifications of participants or best value, or both, as evaluated by procedures of the department and taking into consideration the best interest of the State of Alabama.
(6) Proposals shall use the standard specifications of the department or other specifications the department determines necessary for the project.
(i)(1) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the Department of Transportation may provide compensation for an uncontested claim not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for injury to a person or property or to pay an unpaid vendor invoice without approval of the State Board of Adjustment where the department determines in justice and good morals the claim should be paid. Any claim shall be subject to the same statute of limitations as provided in Section 41-9-65 . The department shall develop procedures for the filing, review, and payment of uncontested claims. Any claim prior to payment shall be approved by the Director of Transportation or his or her designee. The department shall submit a request to pay an uncontested claim to the Comptroller who shall issue and forward payment to the department within 30 days of receipt.
(2) Any contested claim filed pursuant to this subsection shall be forwarded by the department to the State Board of Adjustment.
(3) The submission of a claim to the department under this section shall toll the statute of limitations set forth in Section 41-9-65 .
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