Strong competition starts North Link in Seattle
Strong competition starts North Link in Seattle Dec 2008
The economic downturn appears to have a major upside for Sound Transit in Seattle. Strong competition for the first major construction contract ahead of the two main construction contracts for the University Link light rail extension resulted in six bids, all of them below the Engineer’s estimate. The apparent low bid of $19.4 million by Condon Johnson & Associates is 34% below the Engineer’s estimate of $29.6 million.

Bids for preparatory contract

“We are pleased with the response of the contracting community as well as the favorable results today,” said Sound Transit Link Light Rail Director Ahmad Fazel. “We hope this high level of interest carries forward to the remaining University Link contracts.”
Meantime, the two large contracts for the civil works of the entirely underground $1.9 billion, 3.15-mile University Link from the city center north through a station at Capitol Hill, under the Shipping Canal between Lake Washington and Lake Union, to an station near Husky Stadium at the University of Washington, will be advertised, bid and awarded.

LRT alignment north

The population of the corridor served by University Link is expected to grow by a projected 56% between 2000 and 2030, further increasing traffic congestion and maximizing the relief provided by light rail services. Based on its tremendous benefits, the University Link project received the highest possible ranking in the extremely competitive federal funding process.
With funds in hand to build the University Link, Sound Transit plans to have the line with its high ridership potential of more than 70,000 riders a day, opened by 2016. The line will extend north the Link light rail line that is currently in construction and ready for a grand opening in 2009 that will link downtown Seattle south through the underground reach through Beacon Hill and on south to Sea-Tac International Airport.
In November, the Federal Transit Administration announced its intent to award Sound Transit a further $813 million full funding grant agreement (FFGA) to build the 12.5-mile extension further north from University of Washington to Northgate, Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline and Lynnwood. The grant is anticipated to be approved in January following a 60-day congressional review.
As well as extending the University Link light rail line to Lynnwood by 2023 as part of the first 36-mile light rail expansion plan, Sound Transit 2 will also reach Mercer Island, Bellevue, Redmond, Highline and the Star Lake/Redondo area north of Federal Way as part of the full 55-mile planned light rail system build out. With voters approving the Sound Transit 2 package on November 4th, daily light rail ridership across an extended 55-mile regional light rail system is projected to total more than 286,000 by 2030.
Americans approve billions for transit projects - TunnelTalk, Nov 2008


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