The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will reopen its bidding process for the construction of the Central Subway’s Chinatown station after a quartet of contractors failed to meet the agency’s requirements during the first round of solicitations.
Tutor-Saliba, a Los Angeles-based firm, offered to complete the construction project for $239 million, the lowest of four bids accepted by the SFMTA. The four bids ranged from $239 million to $397 million.
But after reviewing specific elements of the station design, agency engineers identified cost savings that could reduce their estimated construction cost of $235 million, spokesman Paul Rose said.
“It will be beneficial for the agency to reject all bids and re-advertise the project,” he said.
Rose said the agency can reopen the bid process without jeopardizing the project’s completion schedule. He expected the process will take about six weeks.
The Chinatown station is one of the new depots being built as part of Muni’s $1.6 billion Central Subway project, which will extend underground service from the South of Market to Chinatown.
Ron Tutor, chief executive officer of Tutor-Saliba, said he had no idea why the agency reopened the bidding process. He said his firm has a good relationship with the agency, and worked well with it during a $106 million construction project on Muni’s underground system in the 1990s.
However, Tutor-Saliba was sued by City Attorney Dennis Herrera concerning change-orders and cost overruns for a project at the San Francisco International Airport. Herrera tried to ban the company from bidding on any new projects in San Francisco.
Rose declined to say whether the past relationship between the firm and The City affected the bidding process.
“Under provisions of the specifications for this contract, the SFMTA reserves the right to reject any and all bids,” Rose said.