The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) awarded the second phase of the Third Street Light Rail project, also called the Central Subway, to Barnard Impregilo Healy joint venture, Bozeman, Mont.

The partnership’s bid was $233,584,015, the lowest responsive and responsible bid of six total packages sent to the SFMTA earlier this month. The agency engineer’s estimated cost for the project was $225 million.

The other opening bids were submitted by Shea Traylor JV ($257.8 million), Frontier-Kemper/Tutor Perini JV ($296.3 million), Obayashi Corp./Kenny Construction Co. JV ($274.5 million), Judlau + Shimmick JV ($266.8 million) and Dragados USA-Flatiron West JV ($234.8 million).

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose originally said the winning bid would be announced by the end of July, but the SFMTA board decided at its June 28 meeting to award the contract. The board was also encouraged to move the project along with arrival of $20 million in New Starts funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration for the 2011 fiscal year. The Central Subway has received $95.9 million in federal funding to date.

The project consists of a 1.7-mile twin-bore tunnel system from the light rail line’s Embarcadero station and the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets to Chinatown on Stockton Street. Parsons Brinckerhoff/Telamon JV is the engineer. Construction is scheduled to begin in August and will take 40 months to complete.

The project scope includes procurement of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs), construction of a temporary launch box/permanent tunnel portal, construction of the approximately 8,230-ft-long precast concrete segmental tunnels, construction of five emergency cross passages and construction of station end walls.

Rose says the project has made great progress over the past few years having completed the first construction contract to relocate underground utilities along the alignment, being halfway finished on the second contract for the Union Square area and being 95% complete in the final designs for the tunnel and stations.

The extended Third Street Line is expected to carry 65,000 passengers daily by the year 2030. The project will be in revenue service by 2018.

Other projects upcoming within this phase include construction of the Moscone Convention Center station ($87 million, scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2012), Union Square station ($168 million, second quarter of 2012), Chinatown station ($141 million, second quarter of 2012) and track work, systems and surface station ($95 million, first quarter of 2013).