High-speed rail construction moves closer
November 16, 2011
• Seeks design-build contractors for initial segment
• Still on track to start construction next year
California’s proposed $99 billon high-speed passenger train system is edging down the figurative tracks a bit further with the California High-Speed Rail Authority issuing a “Request for Qualifications” from prospective design-build firms interested in building the largest construction package for the Central Valley.
Initial construction in the Central Valley is expected to begin next fall, upon completion of the environmental process. With an estimated value of $1.5 billion - $2 billion, the design-build construction contract will be placed before the end of 2012, the authority says.
Smaller construction packages, focused in and around the city of Fresno, will be released for bid in the coming months and awarded in mid-2012, it says.
The segment begins north of the San Joaquin River near the city of Madera and continues south to approximately East American Avenue through the city of Fresno. This particular sub-segment, for which qualified bidders are being sought, will extend from 21 to 29 miles in length depending on the final alignment selected through the environmental process, and will include 12 grade separations, two viaducts, one tunnel and a major river crossing over the San Joaquin River.
The 60-day request for qualifications (RFQ) process will establish a shortlist of the most highly qualified firms to provide design-build services for the project, the authority says. The shortlisted firms will then be eligible to submit proposals in response to a request for proposals that the authority anticipates releasing in spring 2012.
At the end of this procurement process, the selected design-build firm will be responsible for all work required to design and construct the first portion of the initial construction segment in the Central Valley.
The principal reason in choosing the design-build contracting method is to complete the initial phase of the project within the ARRA funding time constraints, the authority says. Design-build is a contract delivery mechanism where the contractor is able to bring innovative means and methods to both the design and construction of the project. The contractor‘s ability to control the timing of design and construction work when using the design-build approach can lead to significant time savings.