Competition produces wide spread for Caldecott
Competition produces wide spread for Caldecott Oct 2009
Paula Wallis, TunnelTalk
Existing tunnel

Existing tunnel

simulation pic

4th bore simulation

Four bids come in on Tuesday (September 29, 2009) for the 4th bore of the Caldecott Highway Tunnel, with one of them significantly lower than the Engineer’s estimate of $270 million.
Tutor Saliba is the apparent low bidder with a bid of $215 million, which is about 20% below the Engineer’s estimate. The contractor also bid significantly under the 1550 calendar days of the Engine’s construction period estimate (Table 1).
“This was A + B bidding, so we multiplied the days bid by a factor and added it to the bid to make a final decision,” said Jeff Weiss, Caltrans Spokesperson. “ However, the actual bid amount is what we will pay. The ‘B’ amount usually has an impact on award of contract if the bids are very close. In this case, Tutor’s bid was lower in price and in days than the next lowest bidder, so the ‘B’ part will have no effect.”
The bid opening was extended twice to allow contractors extra time to submit their bids and Caltrans is pleased with the outcome. “We consider it a big success to get four bids on a project as large and highly specialized as tunnel building,” said Weiss. “Although there was a broad range between the high and low bids, we were pleased to see two solid bids come in below the Engineer’s estimate.”
The highest of the four bids at $445 million, submitted by Obayashi/Shea/Atkinson JV, was more than twice the amount of the apparent low bid. Caltrans would not speculate on possible reasons for the wide difference Caltrans Engineers will now review the bid and move quickly to award, said Weiss. “We are trying to meet an ambitious goal of starting construction by year’s end.
Tutor Saliba is headquartered in Sylmar, California. The company was founded by Albert G. Tutor in 1949, formed a general partnership with N.M. Saliba in 1981. According to the company, it has experienced substantial growth in business from $10 million in 1972 to a current five-year average of more than $500 million per year. The contractor was awarded the $925 million contract for 10 underground stations and the adjacent tunnel drives that connect Hollywood to downtown LA for the Los Angles Metro in 1995. In September 2001, a Los Angeles jury awarded the LA Metro nearly $30 million in damages against the contractor as a result of claims and counterclaims stemming from the project.
The strong competition for the Caldecott Tunnel 4th bore contract reflects the economic climate. All seven prime contactors that expressed interest in the project and attended the mandatory pre-bid meeting in August 2009 were represented in the bids received by Caltrans.
Local and State officials are anxious to mobilized the project and put people to work. “In this recessionary time, a short term goal has been putting Californians back to work,” said Weiss. “We estimate that this project will create nearly 6,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly.
The designed-bid-build project will relieve congestion and enhance safety on Highway 24 in the East Bay between Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The tunnel will be constructed using the sequential excavation method (SEM). Jacobs Associates lead the detailed design team and Parsons Brinkerhoff is the Construction Manager on the project.
The new two-lane 4th bore tunnel will runnorth of the existing three bores. The 3,389ft (1,033m) tunnel will have a clear width of a 41ft (12.58m) with seven cross passages connecting the third and four bores to serve as emergency exits. The anticipated project completion date is Spring 2014.
Table 1. Bids
Bidder Bid in millions Days Bid
Tutor Saliba $214.87 1105
Barnard/Flatiron JV $260.15 1248
Kiewit/Traylor JV $308.32 1370
Obayashi/Shea/Atkinson JV $445.28 1550
Caldecott bid opening extended - TunnelTalk Procurement
Contract procurement details - TunnelTalk Procurement
Caldecott gets go - TunnelTalk, May 2009
Interview with Caltrans District 4 Director (video) - TunnelCast, Jun 2009
Caldecott history timeline (pdf) - TunnelTalk
Caltrans Caldecott Tunnel


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