Ernst & Young will be in charge of reviewing documents provided by Caltrans, including a project proposal and business plan, and offering financial advice.
The contract has a total value of U$300,000 and will run through the end of June 2017.
The preferred alternative route proposes to convert the existing 2-lane conventional highway to a 4-lane freeway from Castroville to the 101/156 interchange on US 101. The existing 101/156 interchange would be replaced by a more extensive interchange that would handle local traffic and interregional travel. A new interchange would be constructed at the intersection of the Castroville Boulevard and SR 156. Also, the existing 156 lanes would be converted to a frontage road that would serve the local community.
The State Route 156 West Corridor Project is expected to be developed on a design, build, finance, operation and maintenance (DBFOM) basis with the private operator collecting revenue from tolls.
The total project investment is estimated at US$268 million and about US$44 million is currently programmed in the state budget. The funding gap is about US$220 million.
According to TAMC executive director Debbie Hale a request for proposal (RFP) is expected to be issued next summer and a partner could be chosen by late 2016.
In November last year we reported that Caltrans and TAMC were organizing an industry workshop to explore alternative project delivery methods for the project.
State Route 156 is a focus route and gateway for tourists traveling from the bay area to the Monterey peninsula. On the weekends, SR 156 is heavily congested and there are safety concerns. This project proposes to convert the narrow two-lane conventional highway to a four-lane freeway.