The defining moment of the $6.2-billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge project could come Feb. 1 when bids openone more timefor the self-anchored suspension span.

More than 75 contractors attended an outreach meeting in November. They include Omaha-based Kiewit Pacific Co., the lead in the joint venture that holds the foundation contract, and American Bridge Co., Coraopolis, Pa. American Bridge was part of a joint venture that in 2004 submitted a $1.4-billion bid, nearly double the $740-million estimate. That bid was eventually rejected (ENR 10/11/04, p. 10). The joint venture included Nippon Steel Bridge, Tokyo, and Fluor Enterprises, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

The California Dept. of Transportation now estimates construction of the SAS span, designed by T.Y. Lin International, San Francisco, at $1.45 billion, but it is prepared for a substantial range, says spokesman Bart Ney.

Contractors are concerned with schedule, Buy America standardswhich have been exempted on this project in an attempt to lower the price of steeland liability during construction prompted by a possible earthquake or terrorist attack.

Ney would not venture a guess about what might happen if only one bid comes in once again, and it is too high.

In a prelude to the bid date, the Sacramento, Calif.-based Professional Engineers in California Government screened a Davis Brown documentary, The Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story, early this month. The documentary summarizes the projects history, one plagued by political infighting, a lawsuit last year by welders and increasing material costs. The movie included a simple chart showing how the project went from $1.1 billion to the current overall estimate of $6.2 billion and counting.