AP/John Minchillo
A replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River has long been a priority of transportation planners in New York State.


New York State officials have apparently selected a Fluor Corp.-led team to continue negotiations for the contract to design and build the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River, an estimated $5.2 billion-contract, according to several industry sources close to the competition and a published report.

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that state officials contacted one of the teams to make changes in its bid, but he would not confirm that the bidder contacted was Fluor-led Tappan Zee Constructors or that it is the state's choice for the project. "No one's in the lead," he said.

Tappan Zee Constructors also includes contractors Granite Construction Northeast, American Bridge Co. and Traylor Bros. Inc. The team also includes engineering firms HDR, Buckland & Taylor and URS.

Company officials would not comment, but industry sources with knowledge of competition details say the Fluor-led team received a letter about 10 days ago inviting it to continue discussions with the state. According to one executive who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak on the procurement, "formal negotiations" would start as early as next week "to complete contract details."

An executive with ties to New York transportation procurement said: "If I were a betting person I would say the [published report] is correct. They have not cut the other proposers loose yet, but that won't happen until the deal is made with the winner. I was with some people from two of the [Tappan Zee Constructors team] firms yesterday and they didn't deny it."

The other competing teams were believed to have received letters indicating they would not continue with negotiations, the industry sources said. But the state could still "move forward with another team," said a state official.

The industry executive said the state's unclear public stance on the team selection was due to sensitivities related to its dealing with environmental and public advocacy groups "that wanted a larger voice in the outcome."

The edge gained by the Fluor-led team was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Procurement Process Goes On

State transportation officials say that the procurement process is continuing.

"We are assembling all the final facts and costs" [and] no selection or recommendation for award has been made, says Dan Weiller, public affairs director for the state Thruway Authority. "All three bids will be submitted for public review before any selection committee recommendation is made to the Thruway authority board, which makes the final award."

Also competing for the contract is a joint venture of Kiewit Infrastructure Co., Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc., Weeks Marine Inc., subcontractor ECCO III Enterprises Inc., Parsons Brinckerhoff and Parsons Transportation Group; and Tappan Zee Bridge Partners, a JV of Bechtel Infrastructure Corp. and Tutor Perini Corp. with Michael Baker, STV and Gannett Fleming.

The sources did not disclose proposal costs but indicated they were "within the budget." One said that teams could be evalulated on project life cycle costs. He added the Fluor and Kiewit teams were set to use steel as the primary bridge material, but Bechtel/Tutor Perini has chosen concrete.

One source with knowledge of the procurement said the proposal totals "were about $4 billion."

The state spokesman would not specify when a decision will be made, noting it would be within "the next two months." But the industry source said the choice could be sooner. The project is a key priority of Gov. Cuomo.

"They want to wrap negotiations before Election Day," he said.

The industry source added that the state also plans to seek proposals for a consultant to serve as owner's rep on the project, and contenders could include firms on teams not selected.

The three short-listed teams officially submitted their bids to the agency on July 27. A fourth team, Hudson River Bridge Constructors, cancelled its bid unexpectedly. It had been a joint venture of Dragados USA Inc., Flatiron Construction, Samsung E&C and Yonkers Contracting Co., with HNTB acting as design partner.

A fifth team, led by the Impregilo-Halmar joint venture and including Hardesty & Hanover LLP, Louis Berger Group and Hatch Mott McDonald, was not shortlisted.