The Alaskan Way Viaduct now has a prime contractor, but the heated debates over the controversial tunnel are about to hit prime time.
Seattle Tunnel Partners, a joint venture that includes New York-based Dragados USA and Tutor Perini Corp., Sylmar, Calif., won the $1 billion bid for the job. Losing bidder Seattle Tunneling Group, which actually submitted a bid slightly lower in cost, could protest the decision. That joint venture is led by S.A. Healy Co., Lombard, Ill., FCC Construccion S.A. of Spain, Parsons Transportation Group and Halcrow Inc., which is headquartered in New York. Seattle Tunnel Partners received a better technical score, which factored in how the teams were planning on designing and operating a deep-bore tunnel machine.
Other protests are about to shift to high gear. The 1.7-mile tunnel is receiving heat from a coalition of environmental and social justice groups and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. The Washington State DOT also must deal with a tolling issue that could divert motorists to downtown streets in Seattle and I-5.
The winning proposal calls for a tunnel 58 ft in diameter, which is 4 ft wider than what was originally suggested. The modification will allow for 8-ft-wide shoulders.