High-speed rail looking for builders of route toward Bakersfield
October 10, 2013
• Issues request for qualifications
• Will be about 60 miles of the system
Although the first shovel of dirt is yet to be turned to build California’s bullet train system, it’s now seeking builders for a second segment.
The construction contract for the first 29 miles of high-speed rail from Madera to Fresno has been signed, with the California High-Speed Rail Authority now calling for contractors to submit their qualifications to bid on the next 60-mile phase of construction from Fresno south to the Tulare-Kern county line north of Bakersfield.
“High-speed rail is a critical investment in California’s transportation infrastructure to address population growth, congested roads and airports, and air quality,” says Jeff Morales, CEO of the Authority.
Firms interesting in bidding on the Fresno-toward Bakersfield segment will have until Dec. 6 to submit their statement of qualifications. The Authority will then review these applications and establish a shortlist of what it thinks would be the most highly qualified firms to provide design-build services for the project.
Those making the short list will be selected based on experience, technical competency, ability to perform and other factors, it says. The shortlisted firms will then be eligible to submit formal design-build proposals in 2014.
The work will extend approximately 60 miles through the Central Valley beginning at East American Avenue in Fresno and continuing south to approximately one mile north of the Tulare-Kern county line.
The $1.5-$2 billion design-build contract is expected to bring “thousands of jobs” to the Central Valley, the rail managers say.
Design-build contracts mean the chosen contractor must develop innovative means and methods to design the project and then construct it. This approach can lead to faster construction as the contractor is accountable for timing of design and construction work.
The work will include delivering final designs for bridges, culverts, trenches and tunnels, utility relocations, aerial structures, grade separations, tunnels, security and drainage. The environmental clearance for the route is already underway and is anticipated to be final by summer 2014.
According to the rail authority, bidders are likely to form teams, including large numbers of sub-consultants, to deliver work on this scale. The design-build contract will include a 30 percent goal for small business participation.
Funding for was appropriated in Senate Bill 1029 and approved by the state legislature in July 2012. It allocated $2.61 billion of Proposition 1A funds to match $3.24 billion in federal funds for a total of $5.9 billion to begin construction on the first 130 miles of high-speed rail infrastructure in the Central Valley.