CHSRA Postpones Central Valley Bids to January
So reports Tim Sheehan at the Fresno Bee:
Authority CEO Jeffrey Morales said Tuesday that questions from five consortiums of building firms have prompted the authority to set Jan. 18 as the new date by which bids must be submitted for a 28-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line from Avenue 17, northeast of Madera, to American Avenue at the south end of Fresno.
“The bidders have been asking for more information and more time to analyze the information,” Morales said. “If we take our time at the front end to get it right, it will ultimately be to the benefit of the project” through better bids and possibly lower prices.
The rail authority estimates that this construction segment will cost between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion. Morales said the agency now anticipates awarding a contract and beginning construction by June 2013.
Well, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to get good bids. It certainly sounds like the Authority would have difficulty getting good bids if they had not extended the deadline.
This does make an already tight timeline even tighter. Construction is scheduled to be complete by October 2016, with a six-month buffer to March 2017, after which point construction work risks not getting funded by the federal grant that has to be completely spent by September 2017.
On the other hand, if this extension means lower bids can be awarded, then the risk of a tight construction timeline is worth it.