San Francisco water tunnel advertised
San Francisco water tunnel advertised Jan 2010
Paula Wallis, TunnelTalk
After a short delay to improve and complete revisions to the bid documents, the 3.5 mile (5.6km) New Irvington Tunnel Project in the San Francisco Bay Area has hit the street.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) issued an invitation to bid the tunnel project on Wednesday January 13, 2010. Bids will be opened March 11, with a contract award scheduled for April/May. Construction is expected to begin in May/June with final completion by May 2014.
Pic 1

Original Irvington Tunnel construction

The New Irvington Tunnel will be a companion to the 78-year old Irvington Tunnel in the hills east of Fremont, California. The tunnel is a critical component of the 160 miles (257km) of pipelines and tunnels that delivers 85% of the water from the Sierra Nevada to Bay Area households. When complete the existing tunnel, build in the 1930's, will be shut down and inspected for the first time in more than 40 years.
The tunnel will be excavated using conventional methods, including road headers in multiple headings and controlled blasting in sections of hard rock. The finished tunnel will be horseshoe-shaped and have an internal diameter of about 8.5ft to 10.5ft (2.6m - 3.2m). The estimated construction cost is from $230 million to $260 million.
Interested bidders are encouraged to attend a pre-bid and contractor networking conference to be held on February 2, 2010 at 9:00am at the Sunol Valley Golf Club, conference room, 6900 Mission Road (near Andrade Road and I-680), Sunol, California. Prime bidder's attendance at this conference is one of the good faith steps under Chapter 14B 'Good Faith Outreach' requirements for Local Business Enterprises (LBE). Bidders must achieve at least 80 points (out of a possible 100 points), as determined by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, to be deemed compliant with the 'Good Faith Outreach' requirements. A site inspection will be held immediately following the pre-bid and contractor networking conference.
Prime contractors may still submit prequalification packets, however, there is no guarantee they will be processed and approved prior to bid opening. Prequalification packets can be downloaded at Prequalification is required to submit a bid on this project.
Meanwhile excavation on the New Crystal Springs bypass tunnel, the smallest of the three major tunnels that are the lynchpins of the water authority's $4.6 billion overhaul of its aging Hetch Hetchy Water System, is off to a slower than expected start. Contractor Shank/Balfour Beatty JV lowered the TBM into the south shaft in September 2009 and is about 25% into its 4,200ft (1,280m) long drive after three months. Sarah Wilson, Project Manager for the SFPUC said work on the TBM designed by Shank and fabricated by Hitachi Zosen, delayed the start of excavation by a couple of weeks.
"Modifications related to the steering and muck handling systems of the TBM were required by the contractor during the first weeks of the tunnel drive," said Wilson. "However, production is now close to what was originally anticipated." She said excavation is in Franciscan Complex, which so far has been primarily comprised of sandstone with some siltstone and mélange matrix.
The 12ft (3.6m) diameter tunnel will be fitted with a 96in (29m) steel carrier pipe as a liner and will provide redundancy to the existing tunnel build in 1969.
December 18, 2009, the SPFUC awarded the largest and most ambitious tunnelling contract of its system upgrade program to the Michels/Jay Dee/Coluccio JV. The JV submitted the lowest qualified bid of $215.3 million, which was 20% below the Engineer's estimate of $250 million. Construction on that 5-mile (8km) soft ground TBM drive under San Francisco Bay is expected to begin this Spring.
Water tunnels to recharge aging system - TunnelTalk, Sept 2009
Fierce competition creates slimmest of margins - TunnelTalk, Nov 2009
TBM launch at Crystal Springs (video) - TunnelCast, October 2009
Bay tunnel (video) - TunnelTalk, March 2008
Crystal Springs Tunnel awarded - TunnelTalk, October 2008


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