Bechtel wins $490M contract for California rail extension

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Dive Brief:

  • The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California has selected Reston, Virginia-based Bechtel to provide construction management services for the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s Silicon Valley Phase II extension, according to a news release from the contractor. The cost of Bechtel’s contract is $490 million, per San Jose Inside.
  • BART’s Phase II consists of a 6-mile extension with four new stations and nearly 6 miles of tunnel, linking San Jose-area riders to the rest of the system, the release said. Bechtel will start work on the 10-year project and begin overseeing construction later this year.
  • The new rail line will be the largest single public infrastructure project ever constructed in Santa Clara County, according to the release, and will connect North San Jose and Santa Clara with the Bay Area’s BART transportation system.

Dive Insight:

In total, the project will cost $12.8 billion, according to the San Jose Spotlight. The price tag is a far cry from the original figure of $4.7 billion in 2014, KQED reported.

This isn’t Bechtel’s first time working on the line — in the 1960s, the contractor led the design and construction of the original BART system as part of a joint venture known as Parsons-Brinkerhoff-Tudor-Bechtel, according to the transit agency. 

The other firms were Parsons-Brinckerhoff-Quade & Douglas of New York City, which created the original BART transportation plan, and Tudor Engineering Co. of San Francisco, per the agency. 

Later, Bechtel oversaw the engineering and construction of Phase I of BART’s Silicon Valley Line, which first welcomed passengers in 2020, per the release. By 2040, the contractor estimates that the transit system will carry nearly 55,000 passengers each weekday.

The massive expansion is just one of many major infrastructure projects that are underway across the U.S., and builders are optimistic about the future of the sector, despite a drop in spending in the transit vertical.

“Passenger rail and light rail is something that has not [historically] seen significant funding, so we are seeing those projects move forward,” Marsia Geldert-Murphey, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, told Construction Dive earlier this year.

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