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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Light-rail projects advance in Texas, Virginia and Washington


This week, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) and Sound Transit provided updates on their new light-rail lines.

DART announced it awarded a design-build contract for the first two sections of the Orange Line to a Kiewit/Stacy and Witbeck/Reyes/Parsons Corp. joint venture. Under the $430 million contract, the joint venture will provide design and construction services for a nine-mile, six-station light-rail line between Bachman Station on the Green Line in northwest Dallas to Belt Line Road at the southern portion of DFW International Airport.

Design is scheduled to begin in January and construction is set to begin in May. The project's first phase, from Bachman Station to the Las Colinas Urban Center, is expected to be complete in December 2011, and the second phase, from Las Colinas to Belt Line Road, would open one year later. DART expects to open a third section from Belt Line to the airport terminals in December 2013

Meanwhile, Hampton Roads Transit has revised its budget for The Tide, a 7.4-mile light-rail line that will run from the Eastern Virginia Medical Center through downtown Norfolk, Va., along a corridor paralleling Interstate 264. Costs have risen to $288 million because the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and local jurisdictions suggested the agency add higher-quality finishes to passenger stations, as well as upgraded electric power substations, communications and electrical systems, and safety features. The project's original cost was $232.1 million.

Finally, Seattle's Sound Transit announced that six bids for the first major University Link construction contract came in below estimates. Engineers had estimated it would cost $29.6 million to prepare an area where a tunnel boring machine will pass beneath Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle. The lowest bidder, Condon Johnson & Associates Inc., submitted a $19.4 million bid to clear the way for the twin bored tunnels, which will run 3.15 miles between the University of Washington, Capitol Hill and downtown. The agency now will review the bid to ensure it meets all project requirements.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/11/2008