Caltrans releases bid package for SR76 widening – Expected cost in vicinity of $100 million

The California Department of Transportation released the bid package for the work to widen State Route 76 between South Mission Road and Interstate 15.

The request for bids was advertised on April 28 and carries a June 19 bid opening date.

“We’re happy to get it out there. We’re looking forward to finishing the State Route 76 corridor,” said Caltrans acting project manager Carl Savage. “It’s been on our list of things to do for quite some time.”

In November 1987, the county’s voters passed the TransNet half-cent sales tax for transportation. The original TransNet measure included the widening of Highway 76 between Interstate 5 and Interstate 15 from two lanes to four. The portion between I-5 and Melrose Drive in Oceanside was completed in 1999 during the initial 20-year term of the TransNet sales tax.

In November 2004, the county’s voters approved a 40-year extension of the TransNet tax through 2048. The widening between Melrose Drive and South Mission Road was completed in 2012. The widening between South Mission Road and Interstate 15 is the final phase.

“We’re also looking forward to making that road that much better,” Savage said. “It’s taking the existing roadway, aligning it, straightening it out, and making it two lanes in each direction.”

The widening will include shoulder lanes and barriers as well as two travel lanes in each direction.

“This new road will be 44 feet in each direction of paved surface on average. That’s enough space for inside and outside shoulders,” Savage said.

The 44 feet equates to two shoulder lanes 10 feet wide and two travel lanes 12 feet wide. The existing Highway 76 is 30 feet wide on average.

We’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to getting started,” Savage said.

The bid opening will be followed by a review of bids, completion of the contract documents, and allowance for the contractor to move equipment to the site.

“We expect the real excitement to start around September,” Savage said.

The bid package calls for 825 working days. Savage expects that to equate to a three-year period. “It should be exciting to watch,” he said.

The schedule anticipates weather-based delays. Savage does not expect any delays due to avoiding work during the breeding season of birds or other wildlife. “If we do that at the right time of year we can avoid those avian impacts,” he said.

Earlier this year, Caltrans removed trees and other brush from the site, which was done to provide potential bidders with a better perspective of the surface but which also ensured that such removal would not occur during bird nesting season. “We have already cleared the area where the project needs to start work,” he said.

The full clearing of the vegetation is among the tasks of the construction contract.

The contractor and subcontractors will still need to comply with environmental constraints. “There’s a host of mitigation measures required for the project,” Savage said.

The project will use fill from the Vessels property south of the San Luis Rey River. That fill will be transported to the north side of the river, which will require the construction of a temporary bridge across the river. Caltrans has worked with the Federal and state resource agencies and with the Regional Water Quality Control Board to move the fill from the south side of the river to the north side without impacting the watershed itself.

The $91 million construction estimate is based on the cumulative estimates for items the contractor and subcontractors will be required to provide. The actual expected cost of approximately $100 million includes support, lane closure and traffic control expenses, and contingencies.

On May 15, Savage will host a meeting for contractors and subcontractors at the Caltrans District 11 office. Savage will lead the presentation on the project, its history, and various issues which will need to be addressed during construction.

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