San Francisco Central Subway construction to be completed by end month

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A majority of the construction work on San Francisco Central Subway, a much-anticipated project, will be completed by the end of March. The new deadline was approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors on Tuesday as part of a robust set of contract re-negotiations. As part of that process, the board also signed off on a collective US$143 million to be paid to the Tutor Perini Corporation, the project’s contractor, to settle upon a wide range of claims against the agency as well as the latest round of work order modifications, also known as change orders.

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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Director’s action to keep the project “on track” aims at beginning revenue service in spring 2022, nearly four years behind schedule and roughly US$300 million over the original budget. With the revised contract, Tutor Perini is obligated to complete the bulk of critical construction by March 31 so SFMTA can bring in its own people for the year-long testing process to make the decade-in-the-making railroad ready for passengers and paid service by this time next year. The contractor will then remain on-site for six months to handle minor fixes, complete cosmetic upgrades, and address other outstanding items identified by SFMTA staff.

As reported by the Examiner, much of the delay can be attributed to the 1,000-plus change orders made to the contract, a regular occurrence on complicated capital projects where the contractor might encounter unexpected conditions in the field that alter the scope of the work. Historically, SFMTA has allowed Tutor Perini to continue with the work, foot the bill, and charge the agency later for payment. The board also approved an omnibus package of 671 change orders in October for about US$48.8 million. It also approved the second omnibus package for a total of 409 change orders and US$53 million that includes all the work completed through January 2021.