MTA Outlines New Subway Tunneling Contracts
Two big contracts are ready to
hit the market, both requiring TBM technology and likely
to attract bidders worldwide. Also, Rt. 7 in Connecticut
gets a $240 million widening and reconstruction.
New N.Y.C. Tunnels Set for Bidding
Construction bids for two major Metropolitan Transportation
Authority subway projects in Manhattan - the $3.8 billion
first leg of the new Second Avenue line and the $2 billion
extension of the No. 7 line - were set to go out by the end
of the year, said Mysore Nagaraja, president of the agency's
capital construction unit, at a recent industry briefing in
Nagaraja said the winning contractor may well bear strong
resemblance to the team that won a $428 million contract from
the MTA over the summer for its other big Manhattan tunnel
job, a 1-mi., four-tube dig that will connect a new station
at Grand Central Terminal to Long Island Rail Road trains
contract for the $6.3 billion East Side Access program went
to a joint venture of Dragados USA, a unit of Madrid-based
ACS Group, and Judlau Contracting of College Point, N.Y.,
a Queens contractor that handles its share of more routine
The rub of the joint venture's success is that the tunneling
for the 2-mi. Second Avenue segment and the 7,000-ft.-long
No. 7 project both will require advanced boring techniques
and equipment used in other parts of the world but seldom
in New York.
"You have these European contractors coming in and that's
a big challenge to the local contractors," Nagaraja said.
While the winning bid may well have a local contractor teamed
with a European firm, Nagaraja said that the advanced level
of work will raise the bar and attract local players.
"That really will be the challenge to everybody to be
more innovative," he added. "The local guys are
now going to sharpen their pencils. It's going to be a healthy
type of competition that will ultimately benefit the public."
The No. 7 contract, which Nagaraja said is coming out "later
this year, " will dig tunnels, caverns, and station structures
that would stretch the existing line from its terminus at
42nd Street in Times Square to the Jacob K. Javits Convention
Center on Manhattan's Far West Side. The $900 million to $1
billion job will go out under an RFP process, as opposed to
a low-bidder project, said Philip McGrade, the MTA's program
manager for the project.
The project, which New York City is funding out of its own
capital monies, also requires the city to finalize takings
of several properties that would be used for stations and
shafts along the route, a process that Nagaraja said is expected
to be complete later this year.
The Second Avenue project has two bids going out, one for
construction management consultant services, and a second,
37-month low-bid contract for construction of phase 1 of the
line, which will run tunnels from a new 92nd Street station
to the existing 63rd Street station on the F line. The contract
would include excavation for new stations at 86th Street and
72nd Street, as well as tunnels stretching farther north to
be used as storage capacity.
Both projects would require a 19-ft., 6-in. inside diameter,
precast segmental binder tunnel, though Nagaraja said the
agency might consider cast-in-place concrete.
The 7 extension is set to open in 2012, and the Second Avenue
leg would open in 2013.
Rt. 7 Project Begins in Connecticut
A six-contract project to widen and reconstruct major portions
of Route 7 in southeastern Connecticut on a line from Norwalk
to Danbury began this fall. The contracts are valued at $200
million, along with roughly $40 million in inspection and
utility relocation work, according to the Connecticut Department
The agency awarded a $35 million contract in August to Tilcon
Connecticut of New Britain for a segment of the reconstruction
and widening effort in Wilton that is expected to run three
years. The initial effort will include the installation of
environmental erosion and sedimentation controls; the addition
of new water main, sewer, and drainage pipes; and temporary
widening of the road in order to prepare for future construction
tasks. Dewberry-Goodkind of New Haven, Conn., assisted on
Widening work is also about halfway complete on the Rt. 7
expressway in the Danbury area in an effort that began last
year with Tilcon as contractor and Parsons Transportation
Group of Boston aiding on design. That project combines with
a second phase planned for 2008, and together they total $40
million in construction value.
Other projects are set to begin in the next few years, including
a $100 million construction effort on the final portion of
the Rt. 7-Merritt Parkway interchange in Norwalk in spring
2008, with Purcell Associates of Glastonbury, Conn., on design.
A $25 million widening of Rt. 7 from Norwalk to Wilton should
start in summer 2009, with Earth Tech of Glastonbury, Conn.,
contracted for design services.
New N.J. Light Rail Extension
New Jersey Transit is planning to issue a design-build contract
for the construction of an $89 million, 1-mi. extension of
its Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system to a new station at 8th
Street in Bayonne.
The new station will become the system's southern terminus,
replacing the current end of the line in Bayonne at 22nd Street.
In September, the transit agency's board authorized $2.1 million
in design planning and environmental work to prepare the design-build
package, which would be awarded next summer.
The new elevated station at Avenue C and 8th Street will
serve the city's Bergen Point neighborhood. The extension
will follow a Conrail right-of-way along the current alignment,
then cross over several streets on a viaduct.
The new station will be designed to evoke the Central Railroad
of New Jersey station that had stood near the site. Construction
would begin in 2008 and finish in 2009.
The system's first $993 million, 16-station phase in Hudson
County was completed in 2000. A $1.2 billion, seven-station
expansion finished earlier this year and took it into Bergen
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