Few bids, but trend continues for Seattle's LRT
Few bids, but trend continues for Seattle's LRT Aug 2009
Paula Wallis, TunnelTalk

Fig 1. University-Link alignment

Keen interest evaporated for Seattle’s next LRT extension. Sound Transit received only two bids for the second tunneling contract (U230) for the 3.15 mile University Link (U-Link), even though 15 prime contractors expressed interest (Fig 1).
None-the-less both bids revealed in Wednesday’s (August 26, 2009) public bid opening came in 12% below the engineer’s estimate, continuing a trend.
The apparent low bid was submitted by JCM U-Link Joint Venture, formed by Jay Dee Contractors of Livonia, Michigan; Frank Coluccio Construction Company of Seattle; and Michaels Corporation of Brownsville, Wisconsin. Its bid of $153,556,000 was 12%, or $20.7 million, below the Sound Transit engineer’s estimate of $174,304,700.
"Puget Sound taxpayers will continue to benefit from the current favorable construction market,” said Sound Transit Link Light Rail Executive Director Ahmad Fazel. “University Link light rail construction is well underway and late next year we will reach the exciting milestone of launching a tunnel boring machine from the Capitol Hill Station.”
The second bid received was very close to the lowest, at $154,139,000. It was submitted by Kenny/Shea Joint Venture, formed by Kenny Construction of Northbrook, Illinois. and J.F. Shea Construction of Walnut, California.

Route of the U230 contract

The contract includes construction of 3,800ft of segmentally lined twin running tunnels between Capital Hill Station and the Pine Street Stub Tunnel (PSST); excavation and initial support of the Capital Hill Station; five SEM (sequential excavation method) cross-passages at intervals between pressurized face TBM bored tunnels; and construction of a temporary TBM retrieval shaft at the PSST headwall and completion of the tunnel interfaces with the PSST.
Sound Transit awarded Traylor/ Frontier-Kemper JV the first U-Link contract (U220) in June 2009 for the alignment from Capitol Hill to the University of Washington. The JV's low bid of $309.2 million came in 22% or $86 million below the Engineer’s $395.35 million estimate. Likewise, in December 2008, Condon Johnson's bid for the I-5 undercrossing and construction pits contract came in 34% below the Engineer’s estimate of $29.6 million.
Board approval to award the U230 contract is planned for October 2009 with the Notice to Proceed set for November 4, 2009. The $1.9 billion University Link extension, located entirely underground, is expected to open in 2016.
Keen interest for Seattle’s next LRT bid - >TunnelTalk, Aug 2009
Low bid cuts cost of University Link - TunnelTalk, Mar 2009
Strong competition starts North Link in Seattle - TunnelTalk, Dec 2008
Beacon Hill celebration and investigations - TunnelTalk, Jul 2009
Sound Transit: University Link Light Rail


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