Sunday, April 16, 2017


by Bob Walsh

There were three bids submitted to the DWR for the emergency repairs to the Oroville dam. The initial estimate from DWR was $220 million. The lowest actual bid was $275 million.

The low bid was from Kiewit Corp. out of Omaha. This was followed by a bid from Barnard Construction out of Bozeman at $277 million. The final bid was $344 million from Oroville Dam Construction, a joint venture between Teichert and Granite Constructin, two large and well-respected California companies. DWR will review the bids over the weekend and declare a winner on Monday. Surprisingly low bid is only about 50% of the consideration for who gets the win. How much money the bidders have donated or will promise to donate to the Democrat party is a significant consideration, though nobody will admit to it. Other things, like LBGT hiring, minority subcontracting and general liberal company outlook and policy are also considerations.

The current bid calls for filling the huge crater in the primary spillway but not for actual full repair of the spillway. The winning bidder must also face the downstream side of the emergency spillway with cement. It is now uncovered. This will (they hope) prevent the emergency spillway from suffering a catastrophic failure in the event it is actually used again.

Interestingly enough it has still not yet been determined who will actually PAY the bill. The formerly great state of California owns the dam, but it is operated by State Water Project contractors and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. They pay for upkeep and maintenance. The feds have already said they would kick down $274 million for the initial emergency response dating back to February 7 but have made no commitment for paying for actual repair work. That money is expected to run out next money.

The whole idea is to get the spillways to a safe and reasonable level of functionality not later that November 1, when it can reasonably be expected they will need to start dumping water from the damn dam.

1 comment:

bob walsh said...

I should also mention that when the job was actually sent out for bid the specifications were only slightly more than half completed. So they are bidding on a job that they don't know the actual job yet. Can you say COST OVERRUN?