Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bay Bridge Delay

Primarily due to being unable to build near the Oakland shoreline for half the year due to restrictions against disturbing the native fish.

An excerpt.

Protected fish, high bid may delay bridge project
By Erik N. Nelson and Kiley Russell
Article Last Updated:10/27/2006 02:58:20 AM PDT

The Bay Bridge's newest threat of delay has nearly all the ingredients that have conspired to drag out the seismic replacement for a quarter-century: A shockingly high contract bid — nearly twice what was expected to move a power cable — a cross-Bay rivalry with Treasure Island in the middle and protected fish.

In rejecting a single $13.1 million bid to replace and relocate Treasure Island's power cable, Caltrans may have delayed the $5.5 billion Bay Bridge project as much as a year.

After estimating the job at $6.6 million, the agency must now scramble to rewrite the contract before mid-2008, whenthe old cable will cross the path of a single pier holding up the Oakland touchdown to connect freeways to the new bridge.

The rejected bid by Pleasanton-based California Engineering Contractors Inc. would have laid two new cables along a different path before work on the touchdown began.

"We had six contractors putting in bid inquiries," said Randy Rentschler, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which oversees the Bay Bridge project. "So the fact that we had one bidder was a surprise."

Caltrans will put the cable project out to bid again in November, in the hopes of enticing more companies to compete for the work and to bring down the cost.

"Anything that has an impact on delaying this project is of great concern to me," said Caltrans Director Will Kempton. "We want to get this project completed as quickly as possible."

Caltrans' goal, he added, is to find ways to get the new bridge open before its currently scheduled November 2013 inauguration.