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Four Design-Build Teams Receive Draft RFP for SR 99 Deep Bore Tunnel

WSDOT Press Release:

WSDOT took another significant step forward today by releasing a draft request for proposals to four contracting teams for the SR 99 bored tunnel design-build project. This is the teams’ first opportunity to review design and contract information as they prepare their proposals and cost estimate to build the tunnel.

In December the agency identified four design-build teams that are qualified to submit proposals for the tunnel project. The selected teams are: AWV Joint Venture Seattle Tunnel Partners Seattle Tunneling Group and VTS Joint Venture.

“Issuing a draft RFP allows us to work collaboratively with potential contractors on the proposed tunnel design sharing of risk and contract terms” said Ron Paananen Alaskan Way Viaduct program administrator. “This will help us to ensure the bids we receive from the contractors reflect the best possible approach for delivering this project.”

The design-build teams will receive a final request for proposals in May and their responses will be due in the fall. Those responses will detail the firms’ plans for completing the proposed bored tunnel’s design constructing a tunnel boring machine and building the tunnel including the interior roadway tunnel systems operations buildings and portal connections. WSDOT will announce the apparent best value proposal in December 2010. The contract is estimated at approximately $1 billion.

“The draft request for proposals is part of the process of ensuring a successful project” said Paula Hammond Washington Transportation Secretary. “As we engage the private sector to take advantage of their national and international experience our bottom line will always be delivering the tunnel on time within budget and with the highest level of quality and safety.”

”Moving forward as soon as possible allows WSDOT to take advantage of a very favorable bid climate” said Paananen.

Recent bids received by WSDOT have been significantly lower than the engineer’s original estimate. This includes the apparent low bid of $367.3 million for the SR 520 Pontoon Construction site which was $180 million less than the state’s engineer estimate and $107 million for the I-405 NE 8th/SR 520 Project which was $67 million less than the state’s engineer estimate.

Design-build is a method of project delivery that executes one contract with one entity to design and construct a project. This approach has been used successfully on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and I-405 and I-5 Everett HOV projects. It provides for the fastest project delivery greater cost certainty and balances risk between the contractor and WSDOT. Providing a draft request for proposals to the qualified teams begins the collaborative working relationship with the private sector and helps ensure both WSDOT and the contractors agree on the appropriate risk sharing.

Last year the state King County City of Seattle and Port of Seattle recommended replacing the waterfront section of the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct with a bored tunnel beneath downtown Seattle. The plan also includes a new waterfront and public open spaces transit investments a new central waterfront seawall and Alaskan Way and other city street improvements. Environmental review of the proposed bored tunnel is underway and a supplemental draft environmental impact statement will be published in fall 2010.

The draft RFP for the SR 99 bored tunnel design-build project is available at:

Read the Draft RFP Overview (pdf 28 kb)

For more information on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement program visit:


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