The initial two year preliminary engineering phase contract for the 26km Silicon Valley Rapid Transit project in California has been awarded to a joint venture of Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) and Bechtel. The scheme will extend the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system from southern Fremont to the heart of Silicon Valley and includes a 7.25km section of twin bore 5.8m diameter tunnels.

Part of a US$4.2bn ten year project, the two year initial engineering phase was awarded to the Tunnels & Transportation division of HMM in joint venture with Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation by client the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). As well as performing preliminary engineering, the joint venture will provide project control services during the first phase. A major part of the initial engineering is related to the tunnels and includes procurement services for two soft ground TBMs that are anticipated to be used to construct the tunnels.

Both HMM and Bechtel have worked on all aspects of VTA’s rail and highway improvement programmes since the early 1990s. In addition, members of the joint venture have had roles on the BART scheme since its development. A spokesman for HMM said: “We are proud to be partnered with Bechtel Infrastructure, and to apply our international tunnelling and transit expertise on this major mass transit project connecting Silicon Valley to BART.”