Bids Opened on Long-Awaited Caldecott Tunnel Extension

Wed October 21, 2009 - West Edition
CEG




Bids have opened to build the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, a long-awaited project that will remove a bottleneck on busy Route 24 between Oakland and central Contra Costa County, in California. The Caldecott Tunnel project will deliver congestion relief for the 160,000 motorists who travel the corridor daily while also delivering significant economic benefits to the region, even before its ribbon-cutting.

Four bids were opened and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will review the apparent low bid, by Tutor-Saliba Corporation of Sylmar, Calif., to ensure it meets all contract requirements.

“Today the long-awaited Caldecott Tunnel project took a big step forward toward becoming a reality, made possible through state and local dollars and our actions to secure federal funds,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “This project will reduce local traffic congestion while creating nearly 6,000 jobs for California — and is a solid investment in the future of the Bay Area’s transportation infrastructure.”

Financing for the project, estimated at $420 million, comes from state, local and federal funds. This includes $11 million from Proposition 1B, the transportation bond championed by the governor and approved by voters in 2006, as well as the $197.7 million the state secured from the federal government through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).

This project is scheduled to begin in late 2009/early 2010. Contractor bids include the cost of completing work as well as the number of days required before the tunnel is opened to traffic. The project has set a goal of hiring at least three percent of its contracted amount for underutilized, disadvantaged business enterprises.

The project is a partnership between Caltrans, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency. Work crews will build a two-lane, 0.66 mi. (1.1 km) long tunnel north of the existing three bores. Upon completion, the new bore and the existing northernmost bore will be permanently dedicated to westbound traffic, while the two southernmost bores will carry eastbound traffic.

The new configuration will eliminate the current situation where workers at the tunnel must reverse the traffic direction in the center bore twice a day to accommodate the morning and evening commutes and the consistently shifting traffic patterns on busy weekends.