GDC launches virtual data room to allow private sector more technical info before bidding

The Gateway Program Development Corp., looking to improve its Request for Proposals process with the private sector, has launched a virtual data room to provide potential bidders with important technical information about the Hudson Tunnel project.

The innovative data room approach will give private-sector firms access to information not typically available until the formal procurement process, the organization said in a release.

By making the technical information available now, firms can review existing data and propose locations for additional geotechnical investigation.

Future borings will supplement the data obtained during preliminary engineering of the Hudson Tunnel Project, which will also be available. In addition, historical geotechnical information from the ARC project, Hudson Bergen Light Rail Project, Lincoln Tunnel and North River Tunnel also will be available in the data room.

The virtual data room, which requires permission to use, is a result of feedback received from the private sector during an extensive Request for Information process over the past 18 months.

The GDC is led by Chairman Jerry Zaro, Vice Chairman Tony Coscia and New York Trustee Steven M. Cohen.

“Launch of the data room reflects GDC’s commitment to ongoing and meaningful engagement with the private sector and incorporation of these ideas into the project plan,” the three said in a joint statement. “We look forward to continued engagement with industry to help deliver a streamlined, efficient project for the region and the nation.”

Gateway leaders said the approach has the potential to save time during the upcoming procurement process by bringing forward some of the mundane requests that would otherwise occur after issuance of an RFP.

“This is a good step forward, showing the professionalism involved in what will be the largest construction project in the United States,” Greg Lalevee, business manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, said in an email to ROI-NJ. “Most important is that this move could mean work will begin more rapidly once funding is secured, and that’s good for our workforce and the region’s residents and businesses.”

The tunnel project is currently in the pre-procurement design and environmental analysis phase. Once completed, it will provide a new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York Penn Station, and provide for the rehabilitation of the existing North River Tunnel without impacting the 450 commuter and intercity trains that use the existing tunnel each day.

Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement praising the room.

“By developing the virtual data room prior to the formal procurement process on the Hudson Tunnel Project, the Gateway Program Development Corp. has established an innovative solution to knowledge sharing and engagement with the private sector,” he said. “These forward-thinking methods of doing business can help bring the program that much closer to fruition.

“The Gateway program is the most urgent infrastructure program in the country. Completing the program with federal investment is a sound, and critically necessary way to keep both our travelers and our regional economy moving in the right direction.”

GDC interim Finance Director Frank Sacr said the information is vital to bidders.

“This innovative pre-procurement data room will enable GDC and potential bidders to learn more about the underground conditions and suggest additional geotechnical investigations,” Sacr said in a statement.

“Unknown ground conditions are a major factor in adding cost and time to tunneling projects around the world, so by undertaking this work now, GDC is actively working with the private sector to reduce the impact of this risk on the cost and schedule of the project.”

The virtual data room will be accessible to qualified organizations, who can request secure access through the GDC website.

GDC leaders said the initiative reflects a commitment to ongoing and meaningful engagement with the private sector, with the goal of reducing cost and expediting schedule.