Last major light rail bid comes in $24.7 million under estimate

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Sound Transit opened bids yesterday for the last major construction contract for building the initial segment of Central Link light rail. The lowest bid for the Tukwila section of the route came in $24.7 million below the cost that Sound Transit's engineers estimated. 

"Sound Transit is now a full-fledged construction agency," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. "This is the final major contract for the Central Link initial segment. Out of 10 major contracts, all but one has come in under our estimates."

PCL Construction's apparent low bid of $231.7 million for the Tukwila segment was 10 percent below the engineer's estimate. To date, Sound Transit has opened bids for approximately $1.1 billion in construction. Combined, the bids have come in 6 percent under estimates.

"The fact our cost estimates have been so close to the mark is proof our hard work to improve our project planning and delivery methods is paying off in a big way," Ladenburg said. "We're fast becoming a model of how to do things right."

Construction is currently underway on four out of the Central Link initial segment's five major civil construction contracts. The bids opened today are for the southernmost section, approximately five miles of predominantly elevated trackway extending from the southern end of Seattle's Rainier Valley to Tukwila.

In December 2004, Sound Transit, the Port of Seattle and the City of SeaTac announced a joint agreement on an approach for extending the line 1.7 miles to provide direct service to Sea-Tac International Airport by December 2009, within several months of the initial segment's scheduled mid 2009 opening. The Tukwila contract was structured to allow for negotiations to include construction of the extension. Prior to the opening of the direct airport connection, shuttle buses will carry light rail passengers the 1.7 remaining miles to the terminal.

The Central Link initial segment and the airport connection are projected to carry 45,000 riders daily by 2020.

PCL Construction's bid package will be reviewed to determine whether it meets all of the requirements for the contract. If it complies, the contract will be submitted to the Sound Transit Board for review.


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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.