A joint venture lead by US contractor Tutor Perini is the preferred bidder to construct the first phase of California’s high-speed rail system.

The joint venture – which also includes US contractors Zachry Construction and Parsons – submitted a bid of US$ 985 million to win the design and construction work for the initial 30 mile (48 km) Madera to Fresno segment of the network.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority said this bid represented the “apparent best value” for the contract, which it is scheduled to award in the coming weeks.

Work on this project is planned to begin by July 2013, and the contract is forecast to create more than 1,000 construction jobs per year over its four-year duration.

Ron Tutor, chairman and CEO of Tutor Perini, said, “We are very pleased to be selected for the design and construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail project. Our team brings expert resources and a long history of successfully completed mega-scale rail and transit projects. This project will lay the groundwork for California’s new modern transportation infrastructure while providing a much-needed economic boost to the Central Valley.”

In July last year, the US government approved US$ 6.95 billion in financing to support the first stages of construction for the California high-speed rail network.

A combination of federal funds and state-level debt will be used to build the first 130 mile (209 km) section of line in California's central valley between Madera and Bakersfield.

Ultimately, the rail link will connect San Francisco and San Diego, via Los Angles, with a further spur line in Northern California to the state capital, Sacramento. The travel time for the 438 mile (705 km) journey between the two major cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco is expected to be 2 hours, 38 minutes, once the line is complete. However, the project has been criticised for its high cost, put at US$ 68 billion for the entire scheme.

Newsletter

Delivered directly to your inbox World Construction Week features the pick of the breaking news stories, product launches, show reports and more!

Sign up for free

Newsletter

Delivered directly to your inbox World Construction Week features the pick of the breaking news stories, product launches, show reports and more!

Go to newsletters