FAIRFIELD — One of the biggest planned public works projects in recent Fairfield history – constructing the Peabody Road overcrossing and adjacent train station stop – is out to bid.
Fairfield will conduct a mandatory meeting Thursday for prospective bidders. It is to open bids at 2 p.m. Sept. 30. City Engineer Kevin Berryhill said the City Council could award the project late this year or in January 2015.
Whichever contractor wins the bid is to build a six-lane bridge to take Peabody Road over the Union Pacific railroad tracks, build a train boarding platform in the middle of two tracks and a tunnel to reach it, and install street lights and landscaping, among other things. The city estimates the construction work will cost $30 million to $34 million.
All this work must be done while keeping the freight trains and Capitol Corridor passenger trains running.
Traffic on Peabody Road is another matter. Peabody Road is to be closed at the railroad tracks near Vanden Road for one school year, from mid-June of 2015 to August 2016.
Peabody Road is a major link between Vacaville and Fairfield, a key road leading to Travis Air Force Base and a road used by parents taking students to Vanden High School and other local schools.
Fairfield considered having a partial closure of Peabody Road rather than a full closure. But a partial closure would add an extra year to the overpass work and $3 million to $4 million to the cost. The city conducted community meetings and decided in 2012 that a one-year closure is better than having traffic tie-ups for two years.
Peabody Road overpass work was to begin in June 2013 and then in June 2014. The start date got delayed as the city scrambled to pull together all the construction funding pieces.
Fairfield must still wrap up a few details before construction crews can get to work next summer, beyond awarding a bid. The California Transportation Commission in May agreed to provide $11 million for the project, with the city still having to make an allocation request.
The city has applied and the actual awarding of the money goes before the commission Wednesday. The staff recommendation is to award the $11 million “contingent upon approval of a budget revision by the Department of Finance.”
“It’s kind of like an accounting step, if you will,” Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls said Monday. “We’re not hearing it’s going to be a problem.”
Berryhill said the city must also get permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Regional Water Quality Control Board. He did not foresee difficulties arising from the permits that could further delay the project.
The train stop for the Capitol Corridor passenger trains could be ready in 2017, Berryhill said. It could initially be only a stop, with a train station building to come later.
A Peabody Road overcrossing was tied to the train station project several years ago by Union Pacific, which owns the tracks. That condition fit in with Fairfield’s own plans to create a new community around the station, with stores, businesses and a few thousand residences.
Drivers approaching the existing at-grade crossing experience rush-hour backups when trains pass.
The entire train station project, including the station, is to cost about $81.5 million. That includes not only construction, but design, utility relocations and other costs.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.