Originally posted at 12:40 p.m., and updated with a quote from the tunneling company.
One of the three remaining teams seeking to bid on constructing a deep-bore tunnel under downtown is dropping out. With the loss of AWV Joint Venture, that leaves only two bidders, which reduces the competition for the contract for a risky downtown project.
"At this time, AWV is not engaged in any pre-bid activities related to the project," says Kent Grisham, spokesman for the leading contractor on the team, Kiewit Corporation.
"The current contract model and our business model are not compatible," Grisham continues in an emailed statement. "AWV will continue to be in contact with WSDOT about the status of the project. We cannot issue any other statement because, as a matter of common practice, we do not comment publicly on projects unless or until they have been awarded to us.”
Another bidder dropped out in March.
A business manager (who asked not to be named) at the Seattle office of Kiewit—the company leading the team—said this morning, "As far as I know we are not bidding it. That is just what I was told." Corporate staff has declined numerous requests to comment this morning.
The Washington State Department of Transportation has also refused to take any calls this morning in regards to losing a bidder. With only two teams remaining on the $1.96 billion bid, incentive for lower, competitive bids drops sharply.
"If you look a low amount contingency, the tight budget and the high degree of risk, it just doesn't pencil out for the bidder," says Cary Moon, director of the People's Waterfront Coalition.