CHSRA Solicits Five Bids for HSR Construction South of Fresno

Apr 3rd, 2014 | Posted by

The California High Speed Rail Authority is issuing a request for proposals to five bidding consortiums who met the prequalification requirements. According to the Fresno Bee they include the winner of the first HSR construction segment from Madera to Fresno, Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons:

Among the construction teams that were pre-qualified earlier this year to bid on the project are a consortium which last year won a contract worth about $1 billion for the Madera-Fresno section: Tutor Perini Corp. of Sylmar, Zachry Construction of Texas and Pasadena-based Parsons Corp.

The other companies expected to vie for the second contract are:

California Rail Builders, a joint venture that includes Ferrovial Agroman U.S. Corp. and Granite Construction. Ferrovial is an American subsidiary of Ferrovial S.A., a Spanish company; Granite Construction is a California firm headquartered in Watsonville.

Dragados/Flatiron/Shimmick, a consortium that includes Dragados USA Inc., a subsidiary of Spanish firms Grupo ACS and Dragados S.A.; Flatiron West Inc. of San Francisco; and Shimmick Construction of Oakland.

Golden State Rail Partnership, which includes OHL USA Inc., a subsidiary of Spain’s Obrascón Huarte Lain S.A. and Samsung E&C America Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of South Korea’s Samsung Group.

Skanska-Ames Joint Venture, a team that includes Skanska USA Civil West California District Inc. (a subsidiary of Sweden’s Skanska) and Minnesota-based Ames Construction Inc.

The Golden State Rail Partnership bid is new, but the other four were among the finalists for the Madera to Fresno section of the project. The selection of Tutor-Zachry-Parsons brought some controversy at the time, largely from anti-HSR forces. We’ll see what those critics come up with this time to attack the winning bidder for this segment.

It’s worth noting that this construction contract is fully funded, using a combination of Prop 1A and federal stimulus funds. Unfortunately the Prop 1A bond funds are on hold pending the resolution of Judge Michael Kenny’s ruling against the Authority’s financing plan. Hopefully that gets resolved quickly so that construction can, at long last, finally begin in the Central Valley.

  1. agb5
    Apr 4th, 2014 at 02:23
  2. Ted Judah
    Apr 4th, 2014 at 07:28

    Hopefully the State allows Shimmick to win on one of these bids. It’s going to really suck if the “buy American” requirements of the White House disqualify all these consortia with a foreign partner. Although you have to wonder why the Spanish are more invested than other nations. Could it be that France and Germany aren’t interested in the current project, China and Korea are disqualified, and Japan looking at projects with quicker turnarounds?

    This isn’t to say Spanish firms shouldn’t bid, but it does make you wonder if we wouldn’t benefit from more diversity.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I suspect they will try to not give it to Tutor this time around for appearance of impropriety reasons.

    Emmanuel Reply:


    Ted Judah Deutsche Bahn and SNCF were interested and involved until the authority rejected all of their recommendations. Would you invest in someone who doesn’t take your advice? That’s what it boils down to.

    In addition to that the selection process also has something to do with it. We don’t know who got disqualified for what reasons. But it seems that there is some kind of irrational requirement that they all have to have an office based in the US.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    DB was interested? I know about SNCF, but never heard such a thing about DB.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    SCNF’s request was ridiculous, a typically one-sided deal that French multinationals seem to love. DB probably was disregarded because they only design blended systems and in the CV that won’t be necessary. However, I am left to wonder about the Japanese, Koreans, and the Canadians.

    The irrational requirement probably isn’t an office in the US, it’s probably an assembly plant. Remember Talgo was all set to open that factory in Wisconsin and Walker tore up the agreement. (Yes, I realize the planning firms are not the manufacturers, but in most foreign countries the two have a symbiotic relationship.)

    synonymouse Reply:

    It all has to do with how much payola one slips to Brown and Pelosi. And how long one has been tithing.

  3. datacruncher
    Apr 4th, 2014 at 13:19

    On Monday April 7, Fresno State’s Lyles College of Engineering is hosting a day-long HSR Workshop titled “High Speed Rail: A Systems Approach”. It is being promoted as a “technical professional development workshop for practicing engineers, construction managers, planners, policy makers, and others interested in learning more about the systems approach towards high speed rail implementations.” Topics covered are at the link:

    The workshop presenters are Eduardo Romo, President of Spain’s Fundación Caminos de Hierro,
    and Jorge Sanchez, the Engineering Director at RSE Inc. in Belmont.
    The workshop will conclude with a panel discussion that includes Jeff Morales.

    Monday’s workshop is the first in a series being sponsored by Fresno State’s College of Engineering. On April 21 there will be a day-long workshop titled “A New High Speed Line Implementation Process: From Planning to Operation”. That will be followed by a future workshop titled “High Speed Rail Infrastructure: Introduction to Design and Construction”.

    joe Reply:

    Fantastic outreach.

    Congressional Reps Devin Nunes and Tom McClintock can try hard to shutdown HSR and mans-plain to Fresno area residents and business the awesomeness of austerity and low taxes.

    Jerry Reply:

    Nunes And McClintock told them once and told them twice, but the Fresno area residents and businesses just don’t seem to get it. Perhaps they should mans-plain it next to Fresno State.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The Fresno HMF proposal talked about creating HSR-related higher-education and research programs in that area. These workshops may be a way to demonstrate they are serious about starting those programs.

    joe Reply:

    Fresno St. should establish paid Internships with the CAHSRA.

  4. joe
    Apr 5th, 2014 at 12:30

    The CV alignment makes sense.

    The Dallas to Houston bullet train proposal failed 25 years ago and it will fail again because the economics simply don’t work.

    True, the distance between Dallas and Houston is about the same as the distance between New York and Washington, D.C., where the high-speed Acela allegedly turns a profit — or at least covers its operating costs. But more than 40 million people live between New York and D.C., and the Acela service generates revenues by picking up and dropping off passengers in New York, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington.

    By contrast, no one lives between Dallas and Houston. ,What’s more, unlike East Coast cities, Dallas and Houston have multiple business centers, raising the issue of the potential demand for rail service between downtown Dallas and downtown Houston.

    Bernard Weinstein, North Dallas

    synonymouse Reply:

    You have to decide between real hsr or welfare commute ops.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Real HSR would stop in Fresno and Bakersfield.

    joe Reply:

    I pick revenue.

    Your Archie Bunker act is getting tiresome.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Quentin Kopp is Archie Bunker?

    Joey Reply:

    Serving CV cities makes a lot of sense. Sending express trains through downtowns, not so much.

    joe Reply:

    Life is full of compromises. Running HSR to the CV cities and adding service to the their urban cores, for this time in CA, makes sense. It has the best chance of being funded and producing operating revenue.

    As long as HSR isn’t delayed by fog or sits waiting for a gate or slot to take off, or backups with truck congestion and bathroom stops, it will do just fine competing with airports and highway alternatives.

    jonathan Reply:

    Life is full of compromises. Running HSR to the CV cities and adding service to the their urban cores, for this time in CA, makes sense. It has the best chance of being funded and producing operating revenue.

    Taking HSR into downtowns of small cities, where “HS”R has to slow down to 1860s steam-train speeds to negotiate tight curves into existing downtowns, is *not* high-speed rail.

    It may stand the best chance of being funded, at least by popular vote (Prop 1A). But operationally, it’s a disaster. Anyone who can manage kinematics can understand this.
    One doesn’t even need to solve differential equations: _Principia Mathematica_ made that a textbook issue, hundreds of years ago.

    But then, Joe’s grasp of science lacks opposable thumbs.
    “Math is hard”. Too hard for Joe, apparently.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    steam trains rarely if ever got up to 115 which is the proposed speed at the slow spot in Bakersfield.

    wdobner Reply:

    Great, then we can build the local route now as all we’ll be operating will be locals for upwards of a decade. Once Phase 1, or at least the Bay to Basin route is nearly completed we can go back and build the bypasses required to get the expresses out of the city center stations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not worth it to build the bypasses until there are capacity constraints. 20 miles at 120 MPH average speed takes ten minutes. 20 miles at an average speed of 220 saves less than 5 minutes.

    Clem Reply:

    It saves more than five minutes, since your 120 mph train has to slow down from 220 mph and speed back up to 120 mph… that will cost another two minutes. Five minutes here, five minutes there, and pretty soon it takes the HS out of HSR.

    Clem Reply:

    Speed back up to 220 mph, that is.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    yes it would be going 220 10 miles out and 180 5 miles out and 115 through downtown and then 150 3 miles out and 180 5 miles out and back up to 220 10 miles out for an average speed of 120.

    Joey Reply:

    Which is considerably less than a constant speed of 220.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it wastes 5 or 6 minutes

    Nathanael Reply:

    Big picture here, it’s way faster than you can drive, it’s way faster than the max of 79 permitted for Amtrak on freight-owned rails, and when you add in the time and trouble of going to and from major airports, it should be competitive with flying.

    I don’t care whether “high speed purists” call it high speed as long as it’s fast enough.

    Lewellan Reply:

    According to Einstein, time is relative. Who the hell absolutely has to go somewhere as fast as possible? Ambulances carrying broken bodies on life support to hospitals. No others need to go anywhere at death defying speeds like their lives depended on it. According to Einstein, faster is slower, and slower is faster. If you to go somewhere faster, go slower. If you do not want to go somewhere slower, do not go faster. There has been more than enough deadly high speed rail accidents to justify reducing speed.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Faster is slower, and slower is faster. If you want to go somewhere faster, go slower.
    If you do not want to go somewhere slower, do not go faster.
    200mph HSR will bypass stations and and leave behind patrons who can’t afford the premium ticket.
    These people will be left with slower travel options. To them, faster is indeed slower.
    200mph HSR is designed to serve the elite upper-class and their Dilbertian wage-slave minions.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There has been more than enough deadly high speed rail accidents to justify reducing speed.

    You have a cite for that? the Shinkansen has been in operation for 50 years without a fatal accident. The worst fatal accident was fatal because a bridge fell on the train. Having a bridge fall on the train would be just as fatal at lower speeds.

    Joey Reply:

    200mph HSR will bypass stations and and leave behind patrons who can’t afford the premium ticket.

    You’re assuming only one service pattern which is to my knowledge not how any HSR line in the world operates. Some trains can stop at intermediate stations but not all have to.

    And please take a physics class before you start spewing nonsense about how special relativity relates to non-relativistic, earth-bound objects (trains).

    synonymouse Reply:


    Prop 1a calls for genuine hsr, not AmBART. Kopp is correct on this one.

    If you insist on rural commute ops write the language to make it so and place it back on the ballot. If the masses ok it, soit.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The maps that were presented to voters had stops in Fresno and Bakersfield. Neither of them are rural.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Mojave is.

    In reality the whole San Joaquin Valley is pretty rural from one end to the other. But they have plans to change that.


    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They aren’t building a station in Mojave.

    EJ Reply:

    In reality the whole San Joaquin Valley is pretty rural from one end to the other.

    In reality the population of Fresno is over half a million, and the metro area has 1.1 MM. That’s more than some states. It’s the 34th largest city in the country, and it’s bigger than Lyon.

    Bakersfield has about 450,000.

  5. Emmanuel
    Apr 5th, 2014 at 12:40

    Meh, I would have to know more about the geological challenges of the segment before I could decide which contractors should get the job. Then do some research on their experience and track record, cost overruns, on-time, etc. Bit, as we all know CHSRA will just go with the lowest bidder. Maybe that is a good thing if they can’t possibly screw up.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Will the HSRA necessarily pick the highest bidder? The Fresno-Madera segment was awarded 70% on cost and 30% on a technical score, which weights cost more heavily than is warranted but is not the same as lowest-bidder.

    jonathan Reply:

    CHSRA will go with whichever bidder has a nice revolving door. They will tweak their evaluation criteria on-the-fly, so as to make that happen. They’ve *already* *done* it!

    Keith Saggers Reply:


  6. Keith Saggers
    Apr 6th, 2014 at 14:03
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