Date Published: June 24, 2015

The American highway system is one of the great public achievements in our country’s history, a magnificent collaboration between federal, state, and local governments on one hand, and private industry and contractors on the other. It transformed the country, opening it up to allow people to travel easily and see the land. Even more than planes, it connected us, because instead of jumping from Point A to Point B, we passed through the hundreds of little points in between. The highways run shipping, even more than the rail system. They are a crucial part of America.

Unfortunately for drivers, highways are also nearly always under construction or in need of it. This is normal — they face millions of tons of pressure each day. Attention via construction keeps them updated and functional, despite our gripes about the inconvenience. However, the construction process can be delayed or hindered because of unbonded contractors or due to other surety issues. Understanding why this can happen, and how you can prevent it with a surety bond from a leading provider, can set you apart from the competition and keep you working.


Interstate 10 in Texas would be facing long delays in its repair work were it not for surety bonds.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The I-10 in Texas: How Construction Bonding Kept It Functional

The I-10 in near El Paso, Texas, is as southern as a highway can get, snaking out from Florida through the Gulf states, cutting through Texas before running hard along the Mexican border near Ciudad Juarez. It is a hugely important road for both interstate commerce (it runs west toward Phoenix, connecting the deep Southwest), but also international trade. The ties between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez run deep, and the city has an international flavor that goes back hundreds of years. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that when it came time to perform roadwork on I-10, a firm based out of Mexico City was hired.

The I-10 needed widening and work on collector-distributor ramps, and is undergoing a four-year, $154 million dollar renovation. In the section near El Paso, the Mexican company Grupo Tradeco was hired to do the work. Two weeks ago, they abruptly quit, defaulting on their contract and creating a mess for the project[1. “Contractor suddenly stops work on I-10 expansion in West El Paso,” June 12, 2015,]. It isn’t just this section being impacted. This delays here can be expected to impact other work down the line. Although the general public doesn’t always realize this, these major construction projects are meticulously planned and detailed, almost to the day. Delays are built in, but major delays such as this can have hugely deleterious ramifications down the line.

The threat of default is what makes city and DOT officials nervous about entering into contracts. However, Grupo Tradeco was fully bonded, also with an international firm, Zurich Insurance Group. As part of the bonding process, Zurich had to guarantee the work with a performance bond. In this instance, it means that Zurich is responsible for finding another contractor and making sure the project is completed.

Luckily, officials think they are close to a solution and TxDOT expect work to resume in early July. 

The Importance of Bonding for Getting Work

In this instance, a bonding company saved the bacon of TxDOT, El Paso, and millions of commuters whose inconvenience during the crucial widening process would have lengthened. The bonding guaranteed performance, so that even when Tradeco couldn’t perform the work, there was a responsibility to make sure someone did.

If you are a company without a surety bond — payment, performance, or otherwise — cities and DOTs will be considerably less likely to hire you. In fact, it is just about impossible. Having a bond means that the work will be completed, whether by you or someone else, and that officials and taxpayers won’t be left to dangle. This also protects you, because it helps build up trust and positive reputation. It helps you obtain the work you are looking for. No one wants to take a chance, not when there are hundreds of millions of dollars and angry drivers (who vote) on the line. Getting a bond from a trusted company like Surety1 shows that you are responsible and can be trusted.

The American highway system is a gift and a gem. It’s vitally important that it be kept running, and that requires contractors who have earned that honor. It requires hard work and cooperation. Surety1 is proud to be a part of the team that keeps America on the road.

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