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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors earlier this week approved contract changes to the long delayed Central Subway Project. The new substantial completion date is set for March 31 now that a nearly $150 million payment agreement has been reached.

Directors Tuesday approved payment of $146.6 million to the contractor, Tutor Perini, to settle outstanding claims and change orders.

SFMTA Sustainable Streets Director Tom Maguire said there have been close to 1,000 change orders issued since heavy construction of the Central Subway began a decade ago.

The latest payment agreement includes $53 million for a second omnibus package of 409 change orders and $93.6 million in claims for accumulated costs, including “subcontractor claims, indirect costs of delay, support costs, incidentals, acceleration, impacts, inefficiencies, escalation and interest.”

Aaron Levy-Wolins/SFBay A worker applies weatherproofing inside a tunnel at the Central Subway construction site in Chinatown in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

Directors approved $48.8 payment for the first omnibus package in December.

Directors are expected to approve a third omnibus package later this year related to any changes made to the project prior to the project’s completion.

The total cost of the project has ballooned from the original budget of $1.58 billion to an estimated $1.89 billion.

Jonathan Rewers, the SFMTA’s acting chief financial officer, said it will be the agency’s responsibility to pay all remaining project costs, which will come from a combination of revenue bond financing, capital funds shifting and cost savings in the agency’s operating budget.

The amended contract requires Tutor Perini to complete most of the major construction work by the end of March so that the transit agency’s own staff and crews can begin a year-long process of work that involves subway systems testing.

via SFMTA The passenger platform at the Union Square station along the Central Subway in San Francisco, Calif. is seen in this handout photo posted on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.

Nadeem Tahir, the Central Subway’s project manager, said delays related to construction and the pandemic have pushed out the timeline for this milestone, but she added:

“What’s going to happen is the contractor is going to finish all of the work that is necessary for us to start the next major portion of our work effort and that is to start running trains in the tunnel and start doing our systems testing our operational testing.”

Tahir said the contractor will have six months to wrap up the project and work on minor issues while testing is being performed. The amended contract sets a final completion date of Sept. 27.

Transit officials expect to open the Central Subway for revenue service sometime in the spring of 2022. The subway will extend the T-Third rail line to Union Square, Moscone Center and Chinatown.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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