Infrastructure Law Blog

Infrastructure Law Blog

Insights on California and national public works construction issues

The protected bicycle intersection comes to Davis, CA

Posted in Infrastructure News, Transportation

Davis is the first city in California to install a protected bicycle intersection, which many cyclists believe is part of the necessary infrastructure to expand cycling to the general public. This article includes a great video explaining the benefits of the protected intersection. It will be interesting to see how Davis reacts to the intersection.


High speed rail lessons from France and Germany

Posted in Infrastructure News, Transportation

I recently came across an interesting podcast on some lessons learned regarding high speed rail from France and Germany, focusing primarily on station planning issues. Worth a listen if you have 38 minutes.


Fascinating tunnel project plans to connect Denmark and Germany under the Baltic Sea

Posted in Infrastructure News, Transportation

The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link project would create a new 11 miles tunnel under the Baltic Sea, which would be the longest undersea tunnel in the world. Check out the video in the attached link for 4 minute overview of how the construction will be done.


New public works requirements for contractors and public agencies pursuant to SB 854

Posted in Certified Payroll Records, Legislation, Prevailing Wages, Uncategorized

On June 20, 2014, the California legislature adopted SB 854, a “budget bill” that was heavily negotiated and tied to the approval of the state budget. Included among a variety of unrelated provisions in the lengthy bill were a number of additions and changes to the California Labor Code which will revamp the monitoring of public works projects throughout California through the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”).

SB 854 creates a new public works monitoring scheme for the DIR. While the DIR has been charged with establishing and enforcing prevailing wage requirements for number of years, the new scheme will place more responsibility on the DIR. This alert will summarize the new requirements for both public agencies and contractors. Continue Reading

New case confirms competitive bidding exception for lease lease-back projects award by school districts

Posted in Lease-leaseback

A court of appeal case published on September 18, 2014, Los Alamitos Unified School District v. Howard Contracting, Inc., confirmed the existence of an exception to competitive bidding for “lease-leaseback” agreements awarded by school districts pursuant to Education Code section 17406. Many involved in school district construction have held the view that “lease-leaseback” agreements were exempt from competitive bidding, despite the fact that these agreements result in new construction projects which are ultimately owned by a school district. This case confirms that view by applying a plain meaning interpretation of section 17406. Continue Reading

California legislature enacts several new laws concerning prevailing wage requirements

Posted in Prevailing Wages

The California legislature has enacted a number of laws that impact prevailing wage requirements, including provisions that affect charter cities, requirements to inform the Labor Commissioner of the completion of public works projects, exposure to liquidated damages for prevailing wage violations, and applying prevailing wage requirements to refinery construction projects. These laws went into effect on January 1, 2014, and are summarized below.

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Bay Bridge Construction: Don’t Put Your Party Dress On Just Yet . . .

Posted in Infrastructure News, Transportation

The Labor Day Bay Bridge celebration for the opening of the eastern span may be postponed. In the last few weeks, concern about issues with the Self Anchored Suspension Span (SAS) of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and specifically the cracked anchor bolts, has greatly increased from Governor Jerry Brown’s enlightened comment on May 7, 2013, that “shit happens.” Indeed, the problems with the bolts have heightened concern about public safety and a real possibility that the SAS will not be ready for use until 2014. After all, we are talking about the structural integrity of the state’s most traversed bridge, and at a cost of $6.4 billion, the largest public works project in California history.

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Demise of the “de minimis” exception to prevailing wage requirements?

Posted in Legislation, Prevailing Wages

The legislature is considering adopting a statute that would require workers on private projects to be paid prevailing wage if public subsidies exceed the lesser of $10,000 or 1% of the project cost.  This would effectively eliminate the de minimis exception and likely change the landscape for public subsidies on private projects.

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Amazing photographs of Transbay Terminal construction

Posted in Infrastructure News

Curbed San Francisco posted an article yesterday with a number of great photographs of the construction work in progress on the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco.  I have not seen images this detailed before, and they are fascinating.  Apparently, the web of steel crossbeams are temporary supports.  It is worth a look, click here.

Interesting article on “accelerated bridge construction”

Posted in Alternative Project Delivery Methods

This New York Times article describes a relatively new "accelerated bridge construction" technique using a self-propelled modular transport to lift a bridge into place.  The article focuses on the River Street Bridge in Boston, but the technique is being used increasingly around the country.  When done correctly, the bridge is lowered in place "like a lid fitting onto a box."  The primary benefit of this technique is the incredible increase in speed of project completion, shaving months or even yeras off of a project.   Click here to read the article.