The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has awarded a Kiewit-led joint venture a $235 million progressive-design build contract for a key portion of the program that will link the agency’s rail system to Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) via a tunnel under downtown San Jose.
The Kiewit Shea Traylor (KST) joint venture is composed of Kiewit Infrastructure West, JF Shea Construction, and Traylor Brothers, supported by Kiewit Engineering Group and Arup.
The $6.9 billion BART Silicon Valley Extension Program is the largest single public infrastructure project in Santa Clara County and is slated for completion in 2030. Work will involve collaboration between KST, VTA, BART, the City of San Jose and the City of Santa Clara.
“Executing its first ever progressive-design build Tunnel and Trackwork contract with the joint venture of Kiewit Shea Traylor is a major milestone,” says Carolyn Gonot, VTA General Manager and CEO. “VTA looks forward to engaging with the contractors, BART, and our stakeholders to design and construct an innovative engineering solution that will benefit our Santa Clara County travelers.”
VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension Project (BSVII Project) is a six-mile, four station extension that will bring BART service from Berryessa/North San José through downtown San Jose to the City of Santa Clara. Five miles of the six-mile alignment will be constructed in a large-diameter, single-bore tunnel, with the remaining one mile consisting of at-grade rail.
The project includes three underground stations: 28th Street/Little Portugal, Downtown San Jose, and Diridon. It also calls for one ground-level station at Santa Clara, a train maintenance and storage facility at Newhall Yard, as well as construction of additional facilities.
KST will be handling the first stage of the tunnel and track work portion of the project and will include investigation of innovations, programming services, engineering design services, open book cost estimating, and schedule development. The joint venture team will also review previously completed assessments comparing single and twin-bore tunnel methodologies.
Matt Scott, managing partner, KST says the project’s progressive-design build delivery method will encourage the joint venture to be more innovative in design and construction without sacrificing quality, price or schedule.
“We have a long history working on similar rail projects in California and across the U.S., and look forward to using our expertise and resources to support our client’s commitment to this important project in the Bay Area,” he says.
A joint venture of HNTB and WSP are providing program management services for the project and a Mott MacDonald/PGH Wong Engineering Inc. joint venture are providing general engineering services.
The project is part of a wider effort to link the BART system to the VTA’s system to finally "ring the bay" with frequent passenger rail service. The disconnect dates back to the 1960s when BART was formed and Santa Clara County opted out of the system. With the increase in traffic congestion throughout the region in the early 2000s, the initiative to link the BART and VTA’s systems was revived.
BART Silicon Valley Extension Program is being built in two phases. Phase I, the Berryessa Extension, was a 10-mile, two-station project that opened for service in June 2020.
The agency split Phase II of the project into four contract packages, the largest of which is the tunnel and track work—the only one utilizing a progressive design-build delivery method. This package was then split into two stages. KST will begin working on the first stage, and the second stage will entail major construction for the project, including boring the tunnel under downtown San Jose.
The other three packages are design-build contracts for systems, stations and Newhall Yard and Santa Clara station. The agency is planning to award the other three contract packages beginning next year.
The Phase II project is being funded by local, state and federal sources including the federal Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Program which has contributed $435 million to date. It is the first project in the state accepted into the program which is aimed at expediting the delivery of new fixed guideway capital projects, small starts projects or core capacity improvement projects.
These projects must utilize public-private partnerships, be operated and maintained by employees of an existing public transportation provider and have a federal share not exceeding 25% of the project cost.
An analysis of the project by the Federal Transportation Administration last year was obtained by the Bay Area News Group through a California Public Records Act request. It estimated the total project costs would be $9.1 billion and the project would not be completed until 2034.
VTA officials defended the agencies financial projections in the wake of the report’s release.
“FTA, in collaboration with VTA, has conducted a rigorous risk assessment that identifies uncertainties and provides a framework for VTA’s project team to tackle and mitigate the risks,” Gonot said in a statement at the time.