Parsons Brinckerhoff Wins $700Mil Los Angeles-San Francisco High Speed Rail Contract

A joint venture between German and Spanish contractors has won a 97km section of the California high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco

The California High-Speed Rail Authority selected an international team led by engineering consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff to manage the state’s major transportation initiative, under a $700-million comprehensive rail-delivery partner contract.

The contract, which runs through 2022, has the PB team overseeing program delivery—including permitting, preliminary engineering, alignment, right-of- way acquisition and procurement.

“They really came in with a solid presentation of an integrated team to deliver this program,” says Scott Jarvis, the authority’s chief engineer.

Other team members include Network Rail Consulting, the international consulting arm of Network Rail, the authority responsible for the U.K.’s railway network; and LeighFisher, a global infrastructure management and P3 consultant.

The authority says that 20 of the 40 firms committed in PB’s contract bid are small businesses. Authority set-aside goals are 30% for small businesses,10% for disadvantaged business enterprises and 3% for disabled-veteran business enterprises.

But community protesters, such as Santa Clarita City Council member Tim Ben Boydston, voiced strong complaints to the project at the authority’s June 9 board meeting.

“One of the proposed routes of the high-speed rail is going to negatively impact our city,” said Boydston. “This [above-ground] technology of high-speed rail is very loud and outdated, and our city has no benefit because there is no station here; it’s all downside.”

He told board members that if the route passes through Santa Clarita, residents would prefer that trains go through tunnels.

“All alignments are on the table now,” says Annie Parker, an authority spokeswoman. “We are studying everything.”

European giant behind $1.2bn deal to build California High Speed rail

The work will be carried out by Dragados USA and the Essen-based contractor Hochtief through its Colorado-based subsidiary, Flatiron. The contractors are linked through their relationship with the giant Spanish contractor Grupo ACS, which owns all of Dragados and has a controlling interest in Hochtief.

The design-and-build contract covers “package 2-3”, which was awarded by the California High-Speed Rail Authority yesterday.

The segment Flatiron will work on runs through California’s Central Valley from a point near Fresno south to near then Kern-Tulare county line. Design work is expected to take 18 months, with construction scheduled for late 2016 and continue for four years.

Marcelino Fernandez Verdes, the Chief Executive of Hochtief said the deal was “an example of considerable investment in new and improved infrastructure in the US and a big step forward for the Hochtief Group”.

Shares in Hochtief rose 2.5% in Frankfurt after the news was announced.

The news comes a week after the High-Speed Rail Authority awarded a Rail Delivery Partner contract to a team led by Parsons Brinckerhoff, which also included Network Rail Consulting from the UK and management consultant LeighFisher.

The complete system is to open by 2029. The cost is estimated at $68bn, which would make it the most expensive public works project in US history.