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Contract approved to extend Southeast Rail Line in Douglas County

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board of Directors approved a $140 million two-phased contract award to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. (BBII) to design and build the Southeast Rail Extension.

The decision took place during the Board of Directors meeting July 28, 2015.

Design will begin during the fall with construction expected to start in spring 2016.

The construction phase is dependent on award of a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). BBII commits to completing construction of the line by early 2019.

The timing of the start of the construction phase just happens to coincide with the expected opening of East Rail - "A" Line to the airport.

"The board's contract award is a strong symbol of how much we value the collaborative and innovative spirit of working with our regional partners," said RTD Board Chair Chuck Sisk. Local businesses and governments in southeast metro Denver came together to make an impressive contribution to the cost of the project.

New rail details

The Southeast Rail Extension will build an additional 2.3 miles of light rail on the existing Southeast Rail Line south of Lincoln. The extension will run along the west side of I-25 from the Lincoln Station and then cross over the highway and run along the east side of the highway to the south side of RidgeGate Parkway in Douglas County.

When the extension is complete it will include an end-of-line station at RidgeGate Parkway, plus add 1,300 parking spaces, and bus transfer and kiss-n-ride facilities.

In addition, two more stations will be added as walk-up or neighborhood stations.

One will be adjacent to the Sky Ridge Medical Center, near I-25 and RidgeGate Parkway. The other will be in the planned Lone Tree City Center east of I-25, and south of Lincoln Avenue.

"This extension will make it possible for RTD to connect people in a rapidly growing part of the metro area to the rest of the region, including Denver International Airport," said Dave Genova, RTD's Interim General Manager.

Paying for the project

The current projected budget for the entire Southeast Rail Extension project is $233.1 million. This total includes the following:
  • $34 million that was spent through the end of 2014 on environmental analysis
  • Preliminary engineering and design
  • Acquisition of eight light rail vehicles
The remaining $198.7 million project cost will be financed through a combination of federal, private and local funds. Half of the project will be funded by the FTA's New Starts program, which supplies major capital grants to metropolitan areas; plus a sizable local match of 14 percent from private businesses and local governments in the southeast metro area; and 36 percent from RTD through local funding sources. The project has already been accepted into FTA's New Start's engineering phase and is included in President Obama's FY 2016 budget.

The contractors

The BBII team is made up by the following expert companies:
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff (design)
  • Capitol Management (DBE/SBE/WIN)
  • Transit Safety & Security Solutions (system safety)
  • Systems Consulting, LLC, (quality assurance)
  • Communication Infrastructure Group (public information)
Genova said BBII's proposal "offered the best value and moves us forward to complete another critical FasTracks project."

The current Southeast Rail Line is 19 miles long and connects passengers at I-25/Broadway to Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County and also runs along I-225 from I-25 to Parker Road in Aurora.

FasTracks overview

FasTracks is RTD's 2004 voter-approved transit expansion plan to build 122 miles of commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, add 21,000 new parking spaces, redevelop Denver Union Station and redirect bus service to better connect the eight-county District.



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