LA Metro Awards Sepulveda Transit Corridor Contracts

Written by David C. Lester, Engineering Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Railway Track & Structures

The Board of Directors of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has approved contracts with two private-sector teams for pre-development work on the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project.

Metro announced in February that it would be seeking Board approval this month. The project will connect the San Fernando Valley with the Westside and eventually with LAX via a high-speed, high-capacity transit line.

Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners-Bechtel was awarded a $69.9 million Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) contract to further develop its proposed heavy rail concept. More than 60% would run underground, with the remainder operating primarily in an aerial section. According to Metro, the team has estimated construction costs at $10.8 billion.

LA SkyRail Express was awarded a $63.6 million PDA contract to further develop its proposed monorail concept, an aerial alignment primarily within the I-405 right-of-way between the Valley and Westside. The team’s baseline proposal cost for monorail construction is $6.1 billion, according to Metro.

The agency said last month that it has “long sought to pursue” the PDA partnership model, which enables early contractor involvement. “Metro aims to bring the expertise and creativity of the private sector to the table early, when critical design and engineering decisions can have the greatest impact on the project’s ultimate success,” the agency explained.

“We have reached a significant milestone in our efforts to envision, design and develop the United States’ first Pre-Development Agreement specifically for a public transit initiative,” Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said.

Next Steps

Metro said it expects to begin the environmental review process this fall. “Concept designs for these and other alternatives will be advanced and/or refined through extensive, ongoing public feedback and technical investigation and analysis,” according to the agency.

Metro noted that it “retains the ability to continue the partnership through final design with one of the private-sector teams if its transit concept is consistent with the project’s Locally Preferred Alternative, or LPA, that will be selected by the Metro Board. Metro also retains the right to pursue a different project and delivery path, if necessary.”

Additionally, one of the private-sector teams “may have an opportunity, after the LPA is selected, to submit a proposal to build and potentially help finance the project,” according to Metro.

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