Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project
Metro is making strides to improve travel between the San Fernando Valley, the Westside and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The natural barrier created by the Santa Monica Mountains means that most people traveling between these areas are funneled primarily onto the I-405 Freeway, already ranked as one of the most traveled urban highways in the nation. More than 400,000 people travel through this area every day to commute to work, school, and other destinations along the freeway and beyond.
In Fall 2019, Metro completed a two-year Feasibility Study (Study) evaluating a number of alignments and station locations for a range of high-capacity rail transit alternatives between the San Fernando Valley and LAX with connections to existing and planned Metro bus and rail lines, including the East San Fernando Valley, Orange, Purple, and Expo Lines. The study findings will be the basis for future environmental analysis and project refinement. Given the mountainous terrain, tunneling is being considered for part of the alignment.
The Sepulveda Transit Corridor is part of the Measure M expenditure plan, with approximately $5.7 billion for new transit service to connect the San Fernando Valley and the Westside, scheduled to open by 2033-35. Approximately $3.8 billion is allocated to extend that service from the Westside to LAX with a 2057-59 opening date.
On Oct. 31, 2019, Metro issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking assistance from the private sector to jointly develop plans for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project. Metro’s RFP sought a pre-development agreement (PDA) with up to two private sector proposers to assist in the planning and design of this mega-project. Five teams successfully completed the PDA application: ACS Infrastructure Development; LA SkyRail Express; Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners (Bechtel); Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners (Fengate); and Tutor Perini, Parsons & Plenary.
In March 2021, Bechtel was awarded a $69.9 million contract to further develop its proposed heavy rail transit solution concept. More than 60% of the partner team’s proposed heavy rail concept would travel underground, with the remainder of the line traveling primarily in an aerial section. A Valley-to-Westside trip would take just under 20 minutes according to the team’s proposal. The team’s estimated costs for constructing this proposed solution is $10.8 billion.
LA SkyRail Express was awarded a $63.6 million contract to further develop its proposed monorail concept that would be an aerial alignment primarily within the I-405 right-of-way between the Valley and Westside. Proposed travel times via monorail are estimated at 24 minutes. The LA SkyRail Express team’s baseline proposal cost for building the monorail concept is $6.1 billion.
In August 2021, Metro issued Notices to Proceed to the two teams to officially begin project development. Metro is scheduled to begin its environmental review process for the project this fall. PDAs enable early contractor involvement in Metro’s transit project and increase the likelihood that the project can be built via a public-private partnership that allows for innovations in design, engineering, construction approach, financing and operations.
Los Angeles to San Francisco
California High-Speed Rail
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is planning a rail link from Los Angeles to San Francisco that will allow passengers to complete the journey in just 2 hours and 40 minutes. Work is currently underway in the Central Valley.
Tunnels will be required in the north across the California Coast Range between Gilroy and Merced; and in the south in the Tehachapi Mountains between Bakersfield and Palmdale, and the San Gabriel Mountains between Palmdale and Burbank.
The alignments currently under consideration involve between 45 to 50 miles of tunnels that range in length from several thousand feet to over 20 miles, some of which are over 2,000 ft underground. The target revenue service date for the Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield segment is 2028-29, per the authority’s Draft 2020 Business Plan that was released Feb. 12, 2020. The authority’s board of directors approved the 2020 business plan in March 2021 and was to submit the final plan to the legislature on or before April 15.
The authority in July released its second project-level Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for a project section in Northern California. The document covers the 49-mile segment between San Francisco and San Jose that would provide service between the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco and the San Jose Diridon Station.
In June, the authority announced that the public review period for the Burbank to Los Angeles Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) was extended to July 31, 2020.
The authority currently has 119 miles under construction within three construction packages. Design-builder contractors Tutor-Perini/Zachry/Parsons, Dragados-Flatiron/Joint Venture, and California Rail Builders had more than 32 active construction sites as of June, totaling more than $4.8 billion in construction commitments.
WSP is serving as the Authority’s Rail Delivery Partner (RDP).
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced in January last year that it would initiate the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project. The tunnel project through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will protect water supplies from sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion into the Delta. Additionally, the project will help to reduce the risk associated with earthquakes, improve water supply reliability, and reduce impacts on local Delta communities and fish. The project, originally envisioned to include twin tunnels, is being redesigned as a single-tunnel option under Gov. Gavin Newsom, who took office in January 2019. The department released a modified schedule in August 2020 to align the state and federal environmental review processes, as well as to accommodate additional time needed for modeling. DWR expects permitting to be complete in mid-2024.
BART Silicon Valley Extension
The $6.5 billion, 6-mile BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension includes 5 miles tunnel constructed by a single, large-bore TBM on the order of 45-ft in diameter. The extension includes four stations (three underground). The overall project is a 16-mile extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in the San Francisco Bay area. A joint venture of HNTB and WSP agreed to a four-year, $88.3 million program management contract with the owner, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). Mott MacDonald/PGH Wong was awarded a general engineering consultant contract in January 2019.
In January 2021, VTA announced that it was the first transit agency in the nation to submit an application for $1.735 billion through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program (EPD). VTA also received a $100 million funding allocation from the program, announced by the FTA earlier on Jan. 11. In May, VTA announced that the project has advanced to the final step in the application process for the EPD program, and selected three joint ventures to submit proposals on the estimated $2 billion track and tunnel work contract. The $1.735 billion in federal funds will complete the funding plan to build the Phase II Project.
Early construction activities are planned to begin in 2022 with substantial construction completed by 2028, followed by systems testing, integration, and safety certification.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Potomac River Tunnel Project
The Potomac River Tunnel is a component of DC Water’s long-term control plan (LTCP), also known as the DC Clean Rivers Project. The Consent Decree establishes schedules for construction of the Potomac River Tunnel and other CSO control facilities under the DC Clean Rivers Project, including a 2025 deadline to implement the project in its entirety. The Potomac River Tunnel, 24,000 lf and 18-ft ID, will be located approximately 100 ft below ground. CSOs captured by the Potomac River Tunnel would be conveyed to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The schedule is as follows: Design, Permitting, Third-Party Coordination: Ongoing; Request for Qualifications: Late 2021; Request for Proposal: Mid-2022; Contract Award/Start Construction: Mid-2023; Place in Operation: March 23, 2030 (Consent Decree Milestone).
The B&P Tunnel is a planned replacement of the existing B&P Tunnel, which is an integral portion of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. The new tunnel would replace the low speed, two-track brick arch tunnel, built in the 1870s with four, new single bore, high speed tunnels. The estimated construction cost is $5 billion, with a construction duration of a decade.
Amtrak is currently performing final design and initiating property acquisitions to prepare for construction. Pending sufficient funding for the approximately $4 billion investment, early construction activities on the tunnel’s southern approach could begin over the next one to two years.
Northeast Corridor Superconducting Maglev
The plan for the first leg of the Northeast Corridor Superconducting Maglev comprises 60 km from Washington to Baltimore, approximately 75 percent of the alignment in tunnel, and two underground stations (Washington, BWI Airport) and one at-grade station (Baltimore). The total cost is over $10 billion. TBM tunneling is anticipated as a single bore with guideways (outside tunnel diameter approximately 15m). As many as eight or nine TBMs are anticipated.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was released on Jan. 22, 2021, with the public comment period extended to May 24, 2021. A trio of public hearings was scheduled for early April.
Owner: TNEM/BWRR; Prime Consultant: WSP (formerly Louis Berger); Tunneling subconsultant: Gall Zeidler.
Redundancy Tunnel Program
The Redundancy Tunnel Program for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) will allow reliability of vital drinking water system that was impacted by 2010 main break that resulted in an estimated impact of $310 million per day. The two main components are:
- Northern Tunnel – 4.5 miles long, 10-ft dia., 200-500 ft deep
- Southern Tunnel – 9.5 miles long, 10-ft dia., 200-500 ft deep
The construction duration is estimated to last between 17-23 years, with construction beginning around 2026. The cost estimate is $1.475 billion. A CDM Smith-led team was awarded a $15.7 million, 3.5-year contract in September 2020 to develop and evaluate tunnel route alternatives, deliver environmental impact reports, conduct geotechnical investigation and evaluation and prepare a preliminary design report.
Project Clear Tunnels
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) has begun an ambitious program called Project Clear, a multi-billion dollar investment addressing wastewater overflows. The system improvements include construction of nine tunnels to control sewer overflows.
The Lower Meramec Tunnel bids were opened on July 22, 2020 with the following bidders: SAK Construction LLC ($173,882,288.00); Southland Contracting Inc. ($180,525,000.00); and Super/Dibco JV ($193,755,000.00). The project includes a 6.8 tunnel between 78 and 286 ft into which 96-in. pipe will be installed.
Upcoming tunneling components of Project Clear include (Project, Construction Begin, Construction Cost Estimate, Tunnel Length, Tunnel Diameter):
- Lower & Middle Des Peres Storage Tunnel, 2027, $631,000,000, 9 miles, 30 ft dia
- River Des Peres Tributaries CSO Tunnel, 2028, $375,000,000, 12,144 ft, 20 ft dia
- Upper River Des Peres CSO Storage Tunnel, 2032, $226,000,000, 8,976 ft, 24 ft dia
Flushing Bay CSO
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has begun drafting an RFP for design of 2.5-mile long, 25 million gallon CSO tunnel in Queens as part of a Long-Term Control Plan. The tunnel is expected to be 18-20 ft in diameter an estimated cost of between $670 million $829 million for the preferred alternative. Preliminary plans envision construction occurring from 2026 to 2035.
Hudson Tunnel Project/Gateway
The Hudson Tunnel Project is a new two-track heavy rail tunnel along the Northeast Corridor from the Bergen Palisades in New Jersey to Manhattan that will directly serve Penn Station New York. It consists of three major elements: the Hudson Yards right-of-way preservation project, the Hudson Tunnel, and the rehabilitation and modernization of the existing North River tunnel.
A joint venture of WSP, AECOM and STV has been awarded the design contract. The tunnel portion of the contract, estimated at $13 billion, is envisioned to be a design-build contract including the Palisades Tunnel and Hudson Tunnel. The Hudson Tunnel Project is currently in the environmental review process and is on hold pending finalizing funding sources.
The Hudson Tunnel Project is part of the Northeast Corridor Gateway Program, a series of strategic rail infrastructure investments designed to improve current service and create new capacity. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) currently serves as the project sponsor, but the project is a joint undertaking that also includes Amtrak and New Jersey Transit (NJ TRANSIT).
The existing North River Tunnel, opened in 1910, is owned by Amtrak. NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak operate approximately 450 trains each weekday through the tunnel that carry over 200,000 daily passenger trips. The North River Tunnel presents reliability challenges due to damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, as well as the overall age the tunnel and the intensity of its current use. Significant delays to a large number of trains occur when problems arise.
Second Avenue Subway – Phase 2
Design is underway for the Phase 2 of the second Avenue Subway. A joint venture of WSP and STV is working on the design for the project that extends the line northward from 96th Street to 125th Street – a total of 1.5 miles with three new stations. The alignment will use some existing tunnels originally built in the 1970s, in addition to new soft-ground TBM tunnels. The cost estimate for this phase of the project is $6 billion, with revenue service anticipated between 2027 and 2029. An environmental review is underway per the National Environmental Policy Act, and street-level survey work (gathering of geological samples and identification of utility locations) is ongoing, according to the MTA website.
NEORSD Project Clean Lake
Project Clean Lake for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) includes several major tunnel components to store and convey combined sewer overflows. The projects include:
- Shoreline Storage Tunnel – 15,300 lf of 21-ft diameter soft ground CSO tunnel. (Bidding 2021);
- Shoreline Consolidation Sewer – 11,700 lf of 9.5-ft diameter soft ground tunnel. (Bidding 2021);
- Southerly Storage Tunnel – 18,340 lf of 23-ft diameter CSO tunnel. It is anticipated to bid in 2024;
- Big Creek Storage Tunnel – 22,400 lf of 18-ft diameter CSO tunnel. It is anticipated to bid in 2029.
ALCOSAN CSO Tunnels
The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) is designing a tunnel program to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs) as part of a consent decree with EPA. The $2.8 billion system improvement program is expected to include tunnel segments to store and treat overflows. The improvements are slated to be complete by 2026. The tunnels include: Ohio River Segment (1.9 miles, 12-14 ft in diameter, $84 million); Allegheny River Segment (3.6 miles, 12-14 ft in diameter, $136 million); and Monongahela River Segment (4.5 miles, 12-14 ft in diameter, $152 million). Additionally, the program will include interceptor and consolidation sewers, dewatering pump station and treatment plant improvements. Plans unveiled in September call for tunneling to begin on the Ohio River in 2023, with the others to follow.
On Nov. 5, 2020, voters in Austin, Texas, approved the $7.1 billion Project Connect transportation proposal. This proposal, which includes a 1.6-mile tunnel in the city’s downtown area, includes using property tax revenue to fund the project, with 45% coming from federal sources. The measure passed by a margin of 58-41.
Project Connect is to include:
- A new rail system would serve North and South Austin, the airport, downtown and Colony Park.
- A transit tunnel downtown would separate rail from traffic to improve on-time performance.
- Expanded bus service with an all-electric bus fleet, new routes and on-demand circulators within certain neighborhoods.
- Nine new Park & Rides throughout the region with improved connections and new amenities.
The Downtown Transit Tunnel will separate proposed light rail service from street traffic, enabling faster, safer and more reliable travel through downtown. The new rail system will connect at underground stations at Republic Square and other downtown locations. These stations are planned to include such amenities as retail, restaurants, a transit store and service center.
The tunnel’s stations will provide connections to the new rail system and expanded bus service. In addition to a transitway, the stations will provide a new public space for transit customers and the larger community. The stations will be climate-controlled and are planned to include features such as public art installations, a performance venue for live music, shops, coffee shops, restaurants, free Wi-Fi access, comfortable seating, public restrooms and security cameras. Agents at the CapMetro Transit Store will serve customers with transit information and sell tickets for all services.
The City of Austin is one of multiple taxing entities to which property owners pay property taxes annually. With the approval of Proposition A, 8.75 cents of the City’s property tax rate revenue will be dedicated to the Austin Transit Partnership to fund implementation of Project Connect. Now approved by voters, the Project Connect portion of the City’s property tax rate will become part of the City’s property tax rate each year.
The initial investment includes 27 miles of rail service and 31 stations, including the downtown tunnel and stations.
Phase 2 Lake Travis Deep Water Intake
The Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority (BCRUA) has embarked on a multiple year program to increase capacity and manage concerns associated with recent historic low water levels of Lake Travis. The program includes: a multiple level-screen deep water intake assembly and shaft extending about 70-ft below lake bottom; approximately 10,000-ft of 96-in. diameter tunnel to convey water by gravity from the intake to a new on-shore pump station (with a subterranean forebay, multiple individual pump wells and a 30 ft diameter wetwell extending about 300 ft below grade); and 3,000-ft of 84-in. diameter pressurized transmission tunnel. Final design is expected to be completed in mid-2021. Construction is estimated to begin in 2021 with completion in 2026. Total project cost is estimated at approximately $180 million (subject to change).
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is well underway with planning and preliminary design of the D2 Subway, which will provide a second light rail alignment through downtown Dallas. The targeted opening date for the design-build project is 2024.
Thirty-four borings have been completed since 2016, providing data on conditions up to 120 ft below grade. These borings have revealed the rock types of Austin Chalk (limestone) and Barnett Shale (shale). Upon completion of soil and rock testing, additional evaluations will be performed to help DART determine the most appropriate method(s) to construct the tunnel, stations, and station access portals.
The project budget is $1.7 billion and includes 1.3 miles of alignment below grade (2 miles total) and three underground stations (four total).
In March 2021, Dallas City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the project. DART announced in October 2020 that the design had reached the 30 percent stage and that a Final Environmental Impact Statement was being prepared.
Flood Control Tunnels
The Harris County Flood Control District is entering the second phase of a study to explore the feasibility of building deep tunnels to divert storm water to prevent flooding. The district signed a $2.5 million contract with Black & Veatch to study the size and effectiveness of tunnels at various locations in the county, as well as funding sources. The district got a $2.5 billion flood bond approved last summer.
According to the communityimpact.com, early estimates indicate that it would cost about $1.5 billion to build 10 miles of 40- to 50-ft tunnel. The next phase would include preliminary engineering, which would take approximately 12-18 months.
West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions
Sound Transit is planning for new extensions to its Link Light Rail system including:
- West Seattle to Downtown: which includes a potential 0.5 to 1-mile tunnel under West Seattle neighborhood with 1 new potential underground station, and
- Ballard to Downtown: which includes 7.1 miles of new LRT service, and nine stations. Plans call for a 3.3-mile tunnel alignment, and six underground stations with two mined pedestrian connections to existing stations. Additionally, a potential 1-mile tunnel under Lake Washington Ship Canal and one new potential underground station could be included.
The Sound Transit Board has identified preferred alternatives and other alternatives to study in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft EIS is the next step in the environmental review process, where Sound Transit will evaluate potential impacts and benefits of the alternatives on the natural, built and social environment, and identify potential mitigation measures. The Draft EIS is anticipated to be released in mid 2021 for public review and comment.