Paula Wallis, Reporter
Route of the University Link and its northern extension
- Traylor Frontier-Kemper JV delivered more good news to Sound Transit with a bid 22% lower than the engineer's estimate for the largest contract on Seattle's University Link light rail extension.
- With a bid of $309.2 million, the JV is apparent low bidder to build twin running tunnels between the University of Washington and Capitol Hill. The bid is $86 million dollars below the engineer's estimate of $395.35 million.
- "We are pleased with the response of the contracting community as well as the favorable results," said Sound Transit Link Light Rail Director Ahmad Fazel. "We will evaluate the bid proposals carefully to start what will be a great partnership on an exciting job."
- A second bid of $360.8 million came in from the JCM U-Link JV comprising Jay Dee, Coluccio, Michels.
- The winning contractor will launch two TBMs to excavate the light rail tunnels from UW to the Capitol Hill Station area. The work is scheduled to begin late this year and last about three years.
- Earlier this month Sound Transit broke ground on the project, which is hailed as an economic stimulus. "I can't think of a better time to be kicking off a project that's going to create thousands of jobs in the Puget Sound," said Senator Murray, Chair of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee, who worked with the FTA and Sound Transit to secure $813 million in federal funds for the $1.9 billion project.
- The overall economic impact of the project will be much greater than the estimated 2,900 directly-related construction jobs predicted by a US Department of Commerce model. The model estimates that the project's economic activity will generate some 22,800 direct and indirect jobs.
- A separate contract, scheduled to be awarded early next year, will excavate the twin tunnel connection between Capitol Hill and the existing Downtown Transit Tunnel. The project is broken into several contracts by Sound Transit to generate greater competition among bidders for the work. In December 2008, Condon Johnson emerged as low bidder on the Link's first major project with a bid of $19.4 million to prepare the area for TBM passage beneath Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle. The engineers' estimate for the contract was $29.6 million.
Link light rail from University of Washington, through Downtown Seattle, through Beacon Hill and south to SeaTac International Airport
- Sound Transit contractors began preparing the UW station site earlier this month and site preparation at the Capitol Hill station site is also underway.
- Located entirely underground, the University Link includes stations at Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington and is an extension to the Link light rail line south from downtown Seattle to Tacoma and Sea-Tac International Airport. The South Link, with its deep underground station, running tunnels and high-speed elevator shafts at Beacon Hill, will open later in 2009.
- The local share of the $1.9 billion University Link is funded through existing Sound Transit revenues and was not part of the successful ballot measure that will fund the Sound Transit 2 package. Passage of Sound Transit 2 will extend the University Link another 12.5 miles north to Northgate, Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline and Lynnwood as part of a 36-mile light rail expansion plan to 2023. The 55-mile light rail system achieved by Sound Transit 2 will also reach Mercer Island, Bellevue, Redmond, Highline and the Star Lake/Redondo area north of Federal Way.
- Sound Transit will review the low bid to ensure it meets all project requirements before recommending an award of contract to the Board. The $1.9 billion University Link extension is expected to open in 2016.
- Strong start on North Link in Seattle - TunnelTalk, Dec 2008