SEPTA RFP for King of Prussia extension

Written by Railway Age Staff

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is moving ahead to expand its rail system to a major retail and business center.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) to advance engineering work on its King of Prussia Rail (KOP Rail) extension of the Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL).

The deadline for responses to the RFP is September 2018 and SEPTA’s Board will vote to award the contract following staff recommendations on the bids received.

“The extension of the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia will promote and strengthen regional growth by better linking Center City, University City and King of Prussia-the Greater Philadelphia region’s three largest employment centers,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel.

The extension will access the King of Prussia Mall, business parks, and the Valley Forge Casino Resort.

The NHSL is unique, operating 13.4 grade-separated miles with single cars and numerous stations similar to light rail, but with high-level platforms, third-rail power pickup and onboard fare collection found on rapid transit. For budget purposes SEPTA has termed the line interurban heavy rail.

The KOP Rail extension will run 4.5 miles along a electric utility right-of-way and include four stops, at an estimated construction cost of up to $1.2 billion.

The scope of the RFP includes detailed preliminary design work, such as surveying and utility and geotechnical investigations. SEPTA said this will progress the engineering and architectural design from the conceptual Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), marking a 15% completion point for the project’s total design.

An option is also included in the RFP to design engineering tasks and delivery contract documents, including technical specifications, schedule, cost estimates, survey stake-out and construction phasing documents to reach 30% completion of the design, SEPTA said.

The engineering consultant chosen will be involved in considering the needs of the public as the design is developed and finalized, the transportation authority added.

“KOP Rail will benefit residents, students, our customers and businesses in the region,” said Elizabeth Smith, SEPTA’s director of Strategic Planning and Partnerships. “The rail extension will increase regional mobility and give customers an alternative to congested highway travel while supporting multimodal transportation.”

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