Contract Surety

Bridge Over Troubled Waters?


Construction challenges on the Beltway 8 bridge over the Houston Ship Channel are illustrative of the problems involved in completing large-scale infrastructure improvements on time—and on budget across the country. You’re not alone if you are wondering exactly how the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package is going to transmit to results.


$291 Million Setback

Industry experts counsel cautious optimism, patience and advanced use of technology in thinking forward. It’s also useful to harvest insights from big builds gone awry. For example, in Houston, it’s been determined that the current construction project on the Beltway 8 bridge has flaws stemming from the original design phase of the project.


Construction on the bridge— the largest project in Harris County’s history—began in 2018. The design called for two towers and 128 cables—a big shift from the original “steep box girder” bridge over the Houston Ship Channel. Now, some sections of the “new” bridge need to be demolished, as an engineering review found 21 “significant” design flaws. According to the Houston Chronicle, the setback will cost Harris County $291 million—and, of course, push back the timing: “This development will push completion of the first span of the new bridge to 2025, and the second span to 2027. The engineering firm and contractor behind the designs, FIGG Bridge Group, attempted a new technique after winning its bid to replace the old span, which was built in 1982. FIGG’s new construction method involved fabricating sections of new roadway on the ground and hoisting the segments into place.”


Experts observe that insufficient investment over decades, as well as hurdles related to labor, materials, and the environment, create a plethora of challenges for builders to overcome when taking on big projects. The trend has in fact been projects that are over-budget and off-schedule. New York’s East Side Access project, the high-speed line from Los Angeles to San Fransisco, and work at the former Hanford nuclear site in Washington offer other examples of ambitious builds that have met significant engineering, cost and timing challenges.


Working Smarter?

Intel from organizations studying infrastructure investment points to the importance of integrating technology across the life cycle of construction projects, from design to engineering and through to building and operations. As you push your company forward, give your finance and operations a boost with complimentary fintech services from Colonial Surety. In addition to giving qualified construction companies a surety line of credit in writing, The Partnership Account® provides construction company owners a wide range of helpful features and benefits, including:


  • Control of bidding and bonding, online and in real time.
  • Powers of attorney to seal and issue your own bid bonds—in minutes.
  • Fast, direct, confidential bid bonds—no middleman.
  • Direct access to performance and payment bonds on a customized dashboard.
  • Real time tracking of bids and work on hand.
  • Immediate access to Colonials lead underwriter as new opportunities emerge.
  • A private Owners Dashboard to view surety lines, adjust work on hand, analyze bids—and drive growth.


Learn More and Pre-Qualify for The Partnership Account® Here.


Good To Know

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) allocates $20 million per year, over five years “for advanced digital construction management systems and related technologies.” The language in the IIJA is quite broad, but experts anticipate support for


  • Visual-based inspection technologies that connect job sites to engineering offices in real-time, boosting efficiency, reducing risk and accelerating project delivery.   
  • Construction management tools to administer contracts digitally.
  • Electronic ticketing technology to remove paper from the construction material supply chain.
  • 3D Modeling and digital twin technology.
  • Drones applied to construction, operations, maintenance and disaster recovery.


When it comes to advancing and safeguarding civic building projects, bid bonds, performance bonds and payment bonds have long held an important role. That doesn’t mean the process of obtaining bonds has to be old-fashioned, though: Colonial Surety’s a direct writer—so we’ve sped everything up. We underwrite construction companies based on the power of their financial statements, giving qualified builders power of attorney to issue their own bid bonds, and more. Lets innovate, think big—and act fast—together. Complete the pre-qualification for your written surety-line of credit and The Partnership Account® services today—and receive, for free, Dun & Bradstreet scores. Pre-Qualify and Get Free Scores Here.


Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.