Construction of the SEM tunnel through Downtown Bellevue in Seattle as part of the city’s new East Link LRT project is scheduled to start in February 2016, following award of the E330 excavation contract by the Sound Transit Board.
Atkinson Construction of Colorado is awarded the contract after submitting a low bid of US$121,446,551 bid – US$21.5 million lower (15%) than the next lowest bidder and US$55.5 million less than the Engineer’s estimate of US$156,928,508 (Table 1).
A 10% contingency of US$12.4 million brings the total authorized contract amount to US$133,591,206. A 54-month construction period is scheduled (late 2020), and Notice to Proceed is expected to be authorized in late December (2015).
Project scope includes SEM excavation of a 2,000ft tunnel between Main Street to N.E. 6th Street, the south portal cut and cover structure, final tunnel lining, construction of the tunnel center wall, an access shaft along 100th Avenue N.E. and associated road and utility work. Tunnel fit out will be completed under a separate contract.
Atkinson also holds a US$295 million contract (E335) in JV with Stacy and Witbeck to lay the 1.9-mile section of track through Downtown, construct the north tunnel portal, build an elevated guideway and a cast-in-place segmental bridge over the I-405 highway, and lay track inside the Bellevue tunnel.
Sound Transit has set aside a lifetime project budget for East Link of US$3.68 billion, of which US$2.54 billion is earmarked for construction. Six more major construction contracts are yet to be awarded along the length of the 14-mile connection between Chinatown, across Lake Washington using the modified I-90 bridge, as far as Overlake Transit Center in the north west of Seattle.
Scheduled for opening in 2023, East Link will enable an LRT connection for the East side of the city with Sound Transit’s other light rail projects in the west including the soon-to-open University Link, the SeaTac connection to the airport, and the under-construction Northgate Link for connection in the future with a planned extension to Lynwood as part of a third wave of voter approved transit programs (ST3).