munipiece2.jpgThe San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors on Tuesday approved a tunneling contract for the $1.57 billion Central Subway project.

The project will create a new branch of the San Francisco Municipal Railway’s T-Third line that will run north along Fourth Street from Brannan Street before going underground at Interstate Highway 80, with subway stops at Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown.

The board on Tuesday approved a $233.6 million contract that will pay for the development of about 8,240 feet of concrete tunnels and two tunnel-boring machines, according to Muni officials.

Barnard Impregilo Healy, a Montana-based contractor, was awarded the contract after offering the lowest bid.

The Central Subway project has received nearly $96 million in federal funding, including $20 million last week from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration.

“Investing in the Central Subway is an investment in jobs, in the economic vitality of our city, in safer transit and better commutes for San Francisco’s workers,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement, “The Central Subway project is vital to connecting our city to our communities like never before.”

The Central Subway is expected to open by 2018 and carry 65,000 passengers daily by 2030, according to Muni officials.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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