The Gateway Development Commission shortlisted all five teams that submitted qualifications for the first tunneling portion of the long-awaited $16.1-billion Hudson Tunnel Project to create another passenger rail connection between New York and New     Jersey. Those teams will be invited to submit proposals for a contract the commission expects to award next year.

The design-bid-build contractor would be responsible for digging the western portion of the two tunnels through the New Jersey Palisades from North Bergen to Hoboken using tunnel boring machines. Each tunnel would be about 5,100-ft long with an inside diameter of 25 ft, 2 in. The scope of work also includes six cross passages.

Jim Morrison, commission chief technology officer, says the Palisades Tunnel project is set to cost more than $1 billion. 

The shortlisted teams include FKC-Tutor Perini-Hyundai, a joint venture of Frontier-Kemper Constructors Inc. with Tutor Perini Corp. and Hyundai America Inc.; Gateway Tunnel Contractors, a JV of Halmar International LLC and FCC Construction Inc.; Shea-Kiewit Tunnel Constructors, a JV of J.F. Shea Construction Inc. and Kiewit Infrastructure Co.; Schiavone OHLA Ghella JV, which consists of Schiavone Construction Co. LLC, OHLA USA Inc. and Ghella Corp.; and Walsh/Skanska/Traylor JV, which consists of Walsh Construction Co. II LLC, Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc. and Traylor Bros. Inc., according to a notice from the commission.

“We’re very happy with the teams that submitted, both the number of them and the quality of them,” Morrison says. “We couldn’t have asked for more.”

The commission plans to send out a draft request for proposals to shortlisted teams by the end of next month and a final RFP early next year, Morrison says. It anticipates awarding the contract next July. 

To promote competitive bidding, the commission has divided up the Hudson Tunnel Project into nine contract packages. The two-tube, 2.4-mile rail tunnel itself will be built via four contracts: one for the New Jersey side; one of the New York side; one for the central section under the Hudson River; and one for the tunnel fit-out. 

Work to stabilize a portion of the riverbed, build the approach to the Palisades Tunnel portal and build a concrete casing on the New York side also is split into separate contracts.

Once construction is complete, the commission plans to rehabilitate the existing, more-than-100-year-old North River Tunnels, which officials say are overburdened by Amtrak and NJ Transit trains and are in need of repair.

The commission awarded a $28.5-million contract to Conti Civil LLC last month for construction of a bridge carrying a road over the future rail right-of-way in North Bergen. That work will also clear a staging area and a path for TBMs on the Palisades Tunnel project.