Agriculture

Officials award $177mil contract to begin Friant-Kern Canal repair project

Construction to repair a critical stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal will soon be underway, water officials announced Thursday.

The Bureau of Reclamation and Friant Water Authority announced an agreement on Thursday with a Walnut Creek-based joint venture to begin work on the 33-mile stretch that has been damaged due to subsidence. 

Construction companies Brosamer & Wall and Tutor Perini combined for the joint venture and were awarded a $177 million contract. 

The project is estimated to cost around $500 million total and will restore water delivery to more than one million acres of farmland and 250,000 residents in the eastern Central Valley. 

“Repairing this portion of the Friant-Kern Canal provides significant improvement for the canal’s conveyance capacity and is a key priority for Reclamation and the Central Valley project,” said Reclamation Regional Director Ernest Conant in a statement. 

“We are looking forward to working with FWA and Brosamer & Wall/Tutor Perini Joint Venture to have shovels in the ground by the end of the year – a significant step to providing reliable water supplies to farms and communities throughout the eastern San Joaquin Valley.” 

Reclamation took bids throughout the summer and awarded the contract to Brosamer & Wall/Tutor Perini based on the best-value competitive bid process. 

As Conant noted, Reclamation expects construction to begin by November or December. 

The contract includes 10 miles of new canal with eight concrete inverted siphons below various structures and creeks along with various concrete turnout structures, among other work. 

Because of the subsidence damage, the Friant-Kern Canal has been operating with up to 300,000 acre-feet of reduced water deliveries annually. 

The restoration project would restore capacity to the original 4,000 cubic-feet-per-second, up from the current capacity of 1,600 cubic-feet-per-second. 

“After more than four years of work to assess the canal’s problems, develop designs to fix it, and assemble an initial funding and financing package, we are thrilled to take this enormous step toward restoring critical water deliveries that support the San Joaquin Valley’s businesses, communities, and farms,” said Friant Water Authority Chief Executive Officer Jason Phillips in a statement. 

“FWA looks forward to launching this phase of work with our partners at Reclamation and Brosamer & Wall/Tutor Perini Joint Venture.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.