Approximately two dozen potential contractors, subcontractors, and other interested parties attended a May 15 meeting at the Caltrans District 11 office in San Diego regarding the advertised bid package for the widening of State Route 76 between South Mission Road and Interstate 15.
Caltrans acting project manager Carl Savage and senior resident engineer Ed Fitzgibbons spoke on the project, its history, and various issues which will need to be addressed during construction. Caltrans small business liaison Cyndee McGowan addressed opportunities to take advantage of the 10 percent disadvantaged business enterprise requirement.
“The purpose of today’s meeting is an informal outreach to the contractor community,” Savage said.
The existing Highway 76 is 30 feet wide on average. The widened road will average 44 feet of paved surface in each direction which equates to two travel lanes 12 feet wide along with inside and outside shoulder lanes 10 feet wide, and the road will also include turn lanes, acceleration and deceleration lanes, and barriers.
“This is the last and final phase of the project,” Savage said.
The portion between I-5 and Melrose Drive in Oceanside was completed in 1999, and the widening between Melrose Drive and South Mission Road was completed in 2012. The transportation improvements on the interchange at State Route 76 and Interstate 15 opened to traffic in August 2013.
“We do need to replant the interchange as well,” Savage said.
The length of the project thus ends half a mile east of Interstate 15 even though the interchange itself has been completed. The western end is at Olive Hill Road, which was covered by the previous widening and which has source material available for the widening segment being advertised for bid. The work will also include expanding the park-and-ride lot on the northwest side of the interchange with I-15; the expansion to the east will include flattening the grade and providing truck parking and a bus terminal.
The Olive Hill site contains approximately 60,000 cubic yards of fill. The project will need a total of approximately 900,000 cubic yards for embankments. Fill from the Vessels property south of the San Luis Rey River will provide approximately 600,000 cubic yards, and a fill stockpile at the I-15 interchange makes approximately 135,000 cubic yards available. The remaining approximate 100,000 cubic yards will need to be imported.
The new road will be elevated approximately six to eight feet above the old highway. “Most of the alignment is new road on top of the old,” Savage said.
Different segments of the current highway will have varying fates. “Some of the roads we’re going to remove,” Savage said. “It’s old highway that we’re not going to use any more.”
Other excess road segments will be relinquished to the County of San Diego. “Roads we aren’t removing we’ll rehabilitate,” Savage said.
The contractor and subcontractors will also be responsible for renovating all driveways and street intersections accessible from Highway 76. A traffic signal will be added at the intersection of Highway 76 and Via Monserate.
Non-road activities will include the installation of five wild animal crossings, the relocation of Rainbow Municipal Water District water and sewer lines, and coordination with the San Diego County Water Authority to protect CWA pipelines which cross the highway.
The initial work will take place on the southern part of the road between South Mission Road and Gird Road. The hauling of fill will be followed by paving a road on top of that fill, which will allow all traffic to be moved to what will eventually be the eastbound lanes while work is being done on the eventual westbound lanes. The work on the north side of the segment between South Mission Road and Gird Road will follow the completion of the tasks on the south side of that portion.
The work on the south side between Gird Road and I-15 will follow the completion of the phases west of Gird Road. The eastern stages will involve hauling the fill from the Vessels site, which will require the construction of a temporary bridge across the San Luis Rey River.
After the work on the south side between Gird Road and I-15 is completed, the work on the north side will take place. A capping of the road will be the final stage.
The work will also include the removal of “palisades,” the term for the poles/pipes with webbing initially erected to control the flow of the San Luis Rey River and protect the road from erosion. Existing riprap within slopes will either be abandoned in place or re-used.
Planting tasks are expected to be performed shortly after completion of the associated road work. “We really want to get it planted as soon as possible, that’s our goal. We don’t want those slopes out there barren,” Savage said.
Due to environmental constraints regarding habitat breeding seasons, vegetation clearing and pile driving will be allowed only between mid-September and mid-February. The existing fence protecting arroyo toad habitat must be maintained. Due to river flow issues, any work within the river must be performed between May and October.
“The environmental constraints on this job are immense,” Fitzgibbons said.
The temporary haul bridge will also minimize construction-related traffic on Dulin Road. The contractor and subcontractors can use Dulin Road to set up operations, but the use of Dulin Road for daily access is prohibited and construction-related vehicles will travel across the haul bridge instead. Any nighttime driveway closures will take place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The new signal at Via Monserate and the reconstruction of the signalized Gird Road and Old Highway 395 interchanges will provide opportunities for electrical subcontractors as will the park-and-ride lot improvements which will include lighting and charging stations for electric vehicles. “There’s a rather extensive set of electrical requirements in the park-and-ride lot,” Savage said.
Although the project is within the Rainbow Municipal Water District, that district does not currently have recycled water facilities and the contractor may utilize the Fallbrook Public Utility District or the Valley Center Municipal Water District for watering needs. “They can get their water from whoever they want to get it from,” Savage said.
Transportation considerations, including staff time, traditionally cause contractors to utilize a nearby source to truck in water. “They usually get it from the closest possible source,” Savage said. “Wherever the least expensive source of water is is where they’re going to get it from.”
The $91 million construction estimate is based on the cumulative estimates for items the contractor and subcontractors will be required to provide. The bid package will include subtotals for each of approximately 350 items, and the bid on each item will include labor and overhead as well as material and other expenses. The listing of separate items also allows for disadvantaged business enterprise subcontractors to be specified.
The actual expected cost of approximately $100 million includes support, lane closure and traffic control expenses, and contingencies.
The request for bids was advertised on April 28 and carries a June 19 bid opening date. 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. Construction is expected to begin in September. The bid package calls for 825 working days, which would equate to a three-year period in the absence of excessive weather-based delays.
If during construction the contractor believes that a better alternative exists, a management team will review any change proposals.