The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) on Tuesday issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) from prospective design-build firms interested in building the largest construction package for the Central Valley.

This segment begins north of the San Joaquin River near Madera and continues south to Fresno, extending from 21 to 29 miles (34 to 47km) in length depending on the final alignment selected through the environmental process. The alignment will include 12 grade separations, two viaducts, one tunnel and a major river crossing over the San Joaquin River.

The 60-day RFQ process will establish a shortlist that will then be eligible to submit proposals for a request for proposal (RFP) process that CHSRA anticipates releasing in spring 2012. At the end of this procurement process, the selected design-build firm will be responsible for all work required to design and construct the first portion of the initial construction segment in the Central Valley.

Initial construction will begin next fall, upon completion of the environmental process. With an estimated value of USD 1.5bn to 2bn, this large design-build construction contract will be placed before the end of 2012. Smaller construction packages, focused in and around the City of Fresno, will be released for bid in the coming months and awarded in mid-2012.

The RFQ is posted online available from the Authority’s website,