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$1.6B in Contracts Awarded for Seattle Rail

Thursday, September 5, 2019

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Last month, the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) Board of Directors announced that they had awarded two contracts totaling more than $1.6 billion for the Lynnwood Link Extension light-rail project in Seattle.

Following the news, Sound Transit held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project onTuesday (Sept. 3), marking another major milestone for the project’s construction.

About the Project

According to The Seattle Times, voters first approved the Lynnwood Link Extension project in 2008. According to Mass Transit Magazine, the four-station project will connect King and Snohomish Counties, alleviating traffic congestion and helping with regional growth. (Puget Sound expects 1 million new residents by 2040 and by 2035, the route would see 70,000 daily drivers.)

Plans for the project include 8.5 miles of grade-separated light rail, 34 vehicles and 1,500 parking spaces, as well as a new maintenance and storage facility. According to the DOT, Lynnwood Link will connect to the broader Link light rail network.

In August 2017, Sound Transit announced that the rail project would be running $500 million over budget, along with a six-month delay, which bumped the opening date back to mid-2024. The budget increase and opening delay were largely attributed to increased cost of labor, materials and land in Seattle.

In September 2018, the rail project received a funding allocation of $100 million in fiscal 2018 CIG funds.

By January of this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration approved a $1.17 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement. The transit grant agreement was reported to be the largest issued by President Donald J. Trump’s administration at the time.

"With this extraordinary Federal support, the Lynnwood Link project will provide a light rail connection between North Central Puget Sound and major destinations like Northgate, the University of Washington, Downtown and Sea-Tac Airport," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.

During this time, the project was also reported to be in its final planning stage, with an FTA funding agreement covering 36% of the project costs. Sound Transit was also given access to $200 million of previously approved CIG funds.

Awarded Contracts

Sound Transit has awarded joint ventures SKH—made up of Stacy and Witbeck (Alameda, California), Kiewit (Omaha, Nebraska) and Hoffman Construction (Seattle)—with a $789.4 million contract and Skanska Constructors L300, another joint venture comprised of Skanska USA Civil West California District and Skanska USA Buildings, with a contract worth $187 million.

Included in SKH’s contract, the JV will be incorporating a 5% contingency totaling $37.6 million. Over the course of construction, SKH will be responsible for the construction of 1.5 miles of elevated guideway, 3 miles of at-grade retained cut/fill guideway, various track and associated infrastructure, two stations and two parking garages.

Thus far, SKH has been awarded $883.8 million for the Lynnwood rail project and also helped to provide $94.3 million worth of preconstruction work, as well as negotiated a maximum allowable construction cost for its portion of the project.

The Skanska contract, which also includes a 5% contingency totaling $38.9 million, will involve the construction of 2 miles' worth of elevated guideway, 1.5 miles of at-grade retained cut/fill guideway, track and related infrastructure, two stations and a garage.

Like SKH, Skanska also previously performed $60.9 million in preconstruction services and negotiated a MACC. Skanska’s current contract total with Sound Transit is approximately $878 million.

Both contracts intend on using the general contractor/construction manager alternate public works project delivery method over the course of construction. The GC/CM method has been reported to help the owner agency with design processes and managing construction.

According to Sound Transit, the Lynnwood Link Extension is still expected to open in 2024, with expected ridership to reach between 47,000 and 55,000 daily riders by 2026. The project is being funded through Sound Transit tax revenues ($1.21 billion), a Full Funding Grant Agreement ($1.17 billion), TIFIA Loan ($657.9 million), Bond Proceeds ($84.7 million) and Grant Revenues – Other Federal ($8.5 million).

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Earlier this week, Sound Transit leaders were joined by Gov. Jay Inslee and state officials at the Lynnwood Transit Center for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Lynnwood Link Extension project.

“When we invest in a bridge—or a light rail extension—it’s because we believe in ourselves and in the future,” remarked Inslee. “It’s because we have confidence in ourselves and our communities. A bridge or a train is a monument to optimism.”

The ceremony not only celebrated the official launch of the extension project, but also the fact that entire region’s transit system was in the process of being redesigned. Slated to arrive every four to six minutes once open, the new system at Lynnwood will handle more passengers than any other does currently.

“Link light rail will transform how people will get to and from Snohomish County, but also how they move around Snohomish County,” said Emmett Heath, Community Transit CEO.

Although the rail extension is years away from being completed, HeraldNet reports that hundreds of apartments and retail spaces are also scheduled to break ground across Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.

The extension overall will serve four stations—Shoreline South/145th, Shoreline North/185th, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood City Center—while later plans hope to also connect Downtown Seattle to Overlake and Angle Lake to Federal Way.

“Mark my words, once Lynnwood is reachable by light rail, we are going to see much of the same growth in jobs and business development here in Snohomish County that we are currently seeing grow by gangbusters on the Eastside accompanying our construction of light rail to Bellevue and Redmond,” said Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit.


Tagged categories: Construction; Contractors; Contracts; Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Government; Government contracts; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Rail; Upcoming projects

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