As the federal stimulus funds trickle down to the real-world economy, we McGraw-Hill Construction publications editors have been tasked to keep track of what’s actually breaking ground. You’ll see a host of projects from across the country in the latest ENR Stimulus Snapshot section, including the one I submitted, the Potrero Launch project in San Francisco (which is now also available on our home page under Breaking News). 

Although I’ve been covering the billion-dollar Doyle Drive replacement project for years, it was great to see it actually breaking ground this summer for the contract 1 and 2 portions (environmental mitigation and utility relocation). We also covered Ghilotti Bros.’ winning of contract 2 for $18 million.

And there was also the news that the project’s managers had applied for stimulus funds as well. Guess what? The project just got $100 million from the ARRA.

On Saturday, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) and others at a “commencement celebration” to announce the official beginning of construction on the Doyle Drive replacement project.

"This project has been talked about since the 1950s, and recovery funds are finally making it happen,” says Administrator Mendez. “Secretary LaHood and I agree this means safety improvements for the Golden Gate Bridge’s 91,000 daily drivers and an economic boost for the Bay Area.”

As many of you know, the project – one of the largest in the nation – will replace the 73-year-old Doyle Drive, located on the southwest side of the Golden Gate Bridge, and make structural and seismic improvements to the neighboring Presidio Trust in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

It provides access to San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge and is the primary link between the city and San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to the south and Marin and Sonoma Counties to the north.

Replacing Doyle Drive has long been considered a priority by state and federal transportation planners. Earthquakes or structural failure to the existing roadway would force the closure of one of the Bay Area’s major traffic corridors. An interruption in this route for even a short period of time would result in massive traffic congestion in both the North and East Bay areas, and an overburdened regional transit and ferry system, the FHA says.

When completed, the new access to the Golden Gate Bridge from the west side of the bay will feature six lanes and a southbound auxiliary lane of new roadway for 1.5 mi from the bridge through the Presidio Trust to Richardson Avenue/Lombard Street.
Construction is expected to be completed by 2013.

Twelve different funding sources, spanning federal, state, regional and local governments, will finance the project, including $100 million in Recovery Act funding.

Caltrans says that of the more than $26.6 billion in ARRA highway funds available nationwide, California’s share is $2.57 billion. As of Oct. 2, the state had funded 680 projects totaling $2.05 billion, with 90 projects under way.

Molly Graham, Doyle Drive project spokesperson, says the award for contract 3 – one of the main phases – will be announced within two weeks. Bidding ended earlier this month, with Rancho Cordova’s CC Myers the low bidder.

As a sign of the times, Graham says the estimated budget for this contract was $84 million and CC Myers’ bid “just switched the numbers around -- $48 million.” 

Contract 3 will construct the permanent roadway section, southbound high viaduct, southern Park Presidio interchange and Ruckman undercrossing.

Graham says six to seven firms bid on this phase and all bids were well under the estimate.

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