Blue Plains tunnel teams selected in DC Mar 2011
Paula Wallis, TunnelTalk
Washington DC's major CSO river clean-up program is moving into construction with the selection of the design-build team and construction management firm for the Blue Plains Tunnel.
Blue Plains Tunnel alignment

Fig 1. Blue Plains Tunnel alignment

Traylor/Skanska/JayDee JV with design engineer Halcrow had both the highest scoring technical proposal and the lowest bid price for the design-build contract, while EPC, a specialty tunnel management firm, has been selected for the project's construction management role.
A member of the selected design-build team said: "We are very excited about this technically challenging project. The selection/proposal process was lengthy and time consuming and we are happy it paid off." He said the team plans to meet with four different TBM manufacturers so as to select a machine for the 23,600ft x 23ft minimum i.d. (7.2km x 7m) soft ground segmentally lined tunnel.
Traylor/Skanska/JayDee was selected over Kenny/Shea/Obayashi and Kiewit/Clark for the highly prized job. The three bids ranged from the lowest at $330.5 million to the high of $358.5 million - a difference of $27.9 million. The price proposal counted for 65% of the evaluation, with the technical proposals making up the remaining 35% of the total score. The decision was made last week (March 17) following a lengthy industry outreach, submittal and review process.
The three teams were shortlisted April last year (2010) from a list of six that included Dragados USA, and Impregilo-Healy-FCC JV.
Each team's technical proposal was evaluated on the following criteria.
Design and Construction Plan 50%
Project Management Execution Plan 35%
Minority and Women-Owned Business Plan 15%.
The technical and cost proposals were submitted in separate packets in January and an Evaluation Committee, made up of seven people including, four from the Owner (DC Water), two from other local participating water agencies, and a member of the project's review board, assessed the proposals and interviewed the teams. Following the technical evaluations, completed in February, the price proposals were opened.
"We were very happy with the responses we received from the industry," said Bill Edgerton, Principal with Jacobs Associates, the tunnel and geotechnical consultant for DC Water.
"Five of the six teams that expressed interest were certainly qualified for the job and we encourage them to bid on the next tunnel project in the program that will be advertised later this year."
The Blue Plains Tunnel is the first and largest of four major contracts to control combined sewer overflows into the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers in the Washington DC area. The project includes 23,600ft x 23ft minimum i.d. (7.2km x 7m) soft ground TBM tunneling and four deep shafts of up to 25ft diameter and 150ft deep (7.6m x 46m). The single TBM for the first contract will progress from the Blue Plains Shaft, north to a reception shaft at DC Water's main pumping station site (Fig 1).

Fig 2. Elements of the full LTCP

"The greatest challenge on this first tunnel will be sinking the big 132ft (40m) diameter shaft at the Blue Plains treatment plant," said Edgerton. "It is 180ft (55ft) deep in soft ground right next to the river. Slurry walls or ground freezing options were available to the design-build teams and I believe the selected JV has chosen slurry walls."
Edgerton said design-build procurement was chosen as the delivery method mainly as a time saving option to meet a court consent decree to reduce CSOs into the rivers by March 23, 2018. "We were also looking for contractor innovation," he said. "As this is DC Water's first tunnel in more than 30 years, it was also important that we had one-on-one meetings with the contractors during the proposal period so they could understand who DC Water is and what the job is about. We had multiple meetings with each for the shortlisted teams. I think it worked well. In fact we had positive comments from all of the teams in reply."
The other shortlisted teams will receive a $475,000 stipend to defray some of their engineering costs. Both have requested a debriefing, which is scheduled for April 8, and have a week to file a protest after that. "They don't get to look at the other proposals," said Edgerton, "but we will tell them their strengths and weaknesses and how they faired versus the winner. They will also be told their aggregate valuation score rather than single panel-member scores."
A representative of the winning JV said: "The procurement process, which included confidential one-on-one meetings with each team, was extremely beneficial. DC Water and its consultants listened to our concerns and modified the Contract Documents accordingly.
We had incentive to innovate and share our ideas with the client's procurement team in an attempt to gain competitive advantage. DC Water handled the procurement process very professionally."
One team representative said the contract documents were changed drastically during the course of the process, but overall the selection panel was open-minded and professional.
One significant change in the contract documents to norms is the allocation of risk. "Instead of bidding a certain number of boulders and interventions, for example, the contractor was asked to included so many hours for dealing with the potential risk," said Edgerton. "We asked each bidder to include 1200 hours as a baseline in the bid prices for dealing with situations like interventions and boulders, and told them how to measure it. If, during construction, they exceed the 1200 hours we will pay them at their costs," he said.
The benefit to the owner is that it keeps the contingencies out of the bid price and up front on something that is difficult to measure. The contractor also knows he is protected on the upside.
"This may not be so much risk allocation as risk sharing," said Edgerton. "We recognize that there are risks that have to be shared so we're trying to be fair about it. I think the bidders liked the whole process and so far the client has liked it too."
The Blue Plains Tunnel is the first large contract in the $2.5 billion Long Term CSO Control Plan (LTCP) by DC Water to reduce combined sewer overflows by 96% overall and by 98% in the Anacostia River alone.
The LTCP comprises more than 12.8 miles (20.7km) of deep level tunnels with 16 shafts, and several pumping stations and river crossings. The Anacostia River Tunnel contract will be advertised in November of this year.

The DC Water Board of Directors will vote to award the Blue Plains contract on April 7, with a notice to proceed on May 1, 2011. Tunnel excavation is expected to begin in 2013 with completion in 2015.
As part of its own team of project overseers, DC Water is advertising senior positions for a Program Manager of Tunneling Design and of Tunneling Construction to assist in managing the geotechnical/structural engineering design and construction of the multi-billion 20-year CSO Long-Term Control program to the Federally enforceable consent decree driven milestones. For further details see TunnelTalk Job Opportunities.
Carlton Ray, DC Clean Rivers Project Director stated: "We were very fortunate to have well qualified teams competing for the contract to design and build the Blue Plains Tunnel. We are already into preliminary engineering for the next tunnel segment, known as the Anacostia River Tunnel, which will be advertised for design-build services in Novermber 2011."
Washington DC Blue Plains RFPs - TunnelTalk, July 2010
Miles of new tunnels to clean up Washington DC waterways - TunnelTalk, Aug 2009

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