San Bruno grade separation obstacles lead to price increase for Caltrain project 

A grade-separation project in San Bruno was affected by delays. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • A grade-separation project in San Bruno was affected by delays.

A confluence of events — including bad weather and tricky utility relocation plans  — has increased the costs and pushed back the completion date of Caltrain’s grade-separation project in San Bruno.

The project was originally scheduled to be finished by last summer, but Caltrain is now revising the completion date to the end of this year. Today, the agency also will ask its board of directors to approve a change-order contract to increase the construction costs of the plan from $77 million to $91 million.

Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn attributed the increased price tag to a number of unforeseen obstacles.

Heavy rains during the beginning of construction delayed some excavation plans, and underground utilities were difficult to locate. Further, soil samplings near the railway were much more contaminated than anticipated, increasing cleanup costs, Dunn said. Crews also had to build a makeshift bridge over a vent structure on top of a nearby BART tunnel, Dunn said.

The agency has the money to pay for the $14 million increase through funds set aside in its contingency budget, Dunn said. The overall cost of the project — which includes administrative work, design plans and the contingency element — is expected to rise from the $147 million originally budgeted, although the increase is not likely to be as significant as the boost in construction costs, Dunn said.

The grade-separation project will elevate the Caltrain trackway above automobile traffic at three intersections in San Bruno.

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