Council picks tunnel’s engineers

April 7th, 2017

8 firms get preliminary approval of contracts

By Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette

In a unanimous preliminary vote Tuesday, the Fort Wayne City Council approved eight engineering contracts for City Utilities' planned Three Rivers Protection & Overflow Reduction Tunnel. 

The contracts, which total $18,457,148 will cover various engineering and construction management services. The contracts were awarded to Black & Veatch Corp., CH2M Hill, AECOM Technical Services, 7NT, Aldea Services, Arcadis, DLZ Indiana and iTunnel Inc. 

CH2M Hill is the lead engineering firm on the project. 

The makeup of the team puts emphasis on local firms, allowing them to grow their expertise in tunneling, City Utilities Deputy Director Matthew Wirtz said. 

“Tunneling is a fairly cost-effective way to go versus disrupting and tearing up the surface,” Wirtz said. “We'll be developing our firms as well as investing and training additional staff, internships.”

Black & Veatch, CH2M Hill, Arcadis, 7NT and DLZ Indiana all have local offices. AECOM is an international company with offices in Los Angeles and New York; Aldea Services is in Rockville, Maryland; and iTunnel Inc. has offices in Columbus, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; and Austin, Texas.

The tunnel is part of a 2008 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which mandated the city reduce its average number of annual combined sewer overflows from 76 to four. Fort Wayne has until 2025 to comply.

More than 100,000 hours of engineering work is accounted for in the contracts approved Tuesday, Wirtz said. 

In selecting the contracts, Wirtz said City Utilities received proposals from three teams led by different firms, whittling the list down over several rounds of analysis, interviews and cost examination. City Utilities saved about $3.6 million throughout the negotiation process, Wirtz said. 

Some of the services provided include helping select the machine that will mine the tunnel and helping to review submissions and paperwork provided by the contractor to ensure the equipment and work complies with the design work, Wirtz said. The contracts also cover risk management and safety, quality assurance, claims, document control and public outreach.

The engineering contracts also cover the immense amount of work that will be needed to monitor and maintain the tunnel-boring machine, which will run 24 hours a day, five to six days a week, Wirtz said.

“It requires a pretty extensive team to monitor our production,” Wirtz said. “It's not an 8 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.) engineering service.”

Council has yet to approve the project's construction contract, which is expected to appear before the city's Board of Public Works today. The low bidder for that contract was S.A. Healy-Salini Impreglio Joint Venture, at a cost of $187,963,000.

The project is expected to be complete in 2021.