Final major construction contract for Central Link ready for closeout

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Project completed on time - and now officially within budget

Sound Transit staff today announced an arbitration panel decision on the cost to close out the last major construction contract for the Central Link light rail initial segment.

With the decision, the total estimated project cost of $2.32 billion brings the project in at about $117 million below the $2.436 billion baseline budget established in 2001. The project opened on time in July 2009, consistent with the schedule adopted in 2001.

"We are poised to close the books on one of the most significant transportation investments in this region," said Ahmad Fazel, Sound Transit Executive Director of Design, Engineering and Construction Management. "This was a challenging project and we're proud to have delivered it on time and under budget."

Sound Transit contractor RCI-Herzog had originally sought $137 million as part of its claim for work the contractor performed building the 4.3-mile light rail segment through the Rainier Valley in southeast Seattle. This week, an independent arbitration panel awarded the contractor approximately $66 million. Because Sound Transit had already paid approximately $17 million as part of an interim settlement for the work, the contractor will receive approximately $49 million from the award during contract closeout.

While rebuilding the roadway, sidewalks and constructing the new light rail right of way and stations, the contractor encountered significant challenges. These included more contaminated soil than expected, underground utility conflicts and other design issues to complete the segment in time for the July 2009 opening.

The Rainier Valley segment was one of five major contracts awarded to build the 13.9-mile light rail line from downtown Seattle to Tukwila between 2003 and 2009. A separate contract extended the line 1.7 miles to Sea-Tac International Airport.