CH2M to manage fresh attempt to build $2.2bn Boston light rail extension

US engineer CH2M has been awarded a $57m contract to act as construction manager for the $2.2bn extension of Boston’s Green Line.

The Colorado-based engineer has been hired for the next six years to oversee the extension of the line to the city’s northwestern suburbs of Somerville and Medford. It will be responsible for design-and-build proposal evaluation, estimating and scheduling, information management, stakeholder engagement and construction field support.  

The Boston Magazine reports that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has been assembling’s its team over the past several months, hiring a project manager from the Chicago Transit Authority in November and closing an $8.4m deal with rail operator Keolis to work on signals.

The authority will issue a final request for proposals from design firms later this month, with bids due in September. Work on the seven stations for the extension is expected to begin in February 2018.

In February, the MTBA announced a shortlist of consortiums to build the project. These are:

  • GLX, made up of Fluor, the Middlesex Corporation, the Herzog Contracting Corporation and Balfour Beatty Infrastructure
  • Green Line Partners, comprising the Lane Construction Corporation, Salini Impregilo, Judlau Contracting and a joint venture between LMH and CMC di Ravenna
  • Walsh Barletta Granite, which includes Walsh Construction Company II, the Barletta Heavy Division and Granite Construction.

The Green Line, which claims to be the oldest urban rail system in America, was to have been extended some years ago, however the MBTA dismissed its project team in late 2015 after cost overruns reached $1bn, and questions were asked concerning the project’s procurement.

The Federal Transit Administration, which has pledged $1bn for the project, approved the new cost structure last month.

The New England Engineering News-Record reports that costs will be kept down use design-and-build procurement rather than the guaranteed maximum price form that the MTBA usually employs. The agency rarely uses design-and-build, but it is reportedly hoping the more collaborative method will enable cost control and a more efficient schedule.

The Construction Dive website notes that this procurement route is becoming more popular for large-scale projects for its ability to align stakeholders at the start of the process.

Last week CH2M also won a contract from the Nevada Department of Transportation to provide environmental and preliminary design services for a reconstruction of the three interstate routes in the state.

The project will include improvements on a total of 10 service interchanges on the outdated I-80, the I-580 and the US 395 network.

Image: The Green Line: America’s oldest metro (YouTube)

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