Silver Line Phase 2 Bidding Begins

At least five groups have surfaced so far with plans to bid on Metro’s project to extend rail to Dulles and Ashburn.

CORRECTION: Five groups have already begun assembling teams to propose bids, not four as initially reported. All five teams are listed at the bottom of the story.

Initial story: Hundreds of people representing contractors and subcontractors hoping to be part of the winning bid to construct the second phase of the Metro’s Silver Line to Dulles Airport and Ashburn attended a conference Thursday to learn more about the process and meet construction teams planning to bid on the project.

At least five groups have already begun assembling teams to bid on the $1.4 billiion to $1.5 billion “Package A” of the construction project, which includes everything except the rail yard and the five parking garages that may never go to bid. If all goes as planned, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the entity in charge of the project, hope to have select up to five bidders by Oct. 15 to move forward.

MWAA anticipates selecting the winning bid by May 2013 and estimated construction will take five years the time the winning contractor is given permission to proceed.

The information submitted by the bidders will not be available for public review, according to Eric Carey, a contracts manager with MWAA.

“We consider that to be confidential,” he said. “We do not share that.”

He also urged anyone with questions about the process to contact him directly or submit questions through MWAA’s website. The winning bidder will have to obtain insurance for their work and place bonds on the project until MWAA approves the work.

Quite simply, once qualified bidders are selected, Carey said MWAA would be looking for the best deal.

“We’re looking for the lowest price … the lowest responsive, responsible price,” he said.

The work on Package A includes 11.4 miles of track and six stations, including the rail and supporting infrastructure, aerial structures through the airport and to the rail yard, and all rail systems, including power, train control and communications.

At some point in the future Package B, which includes the rail yard and maintenance facility, will go to bid.

It’s uncertain whether Package C, including five parking garages will ever go to bid. That’s because a cost-cutting agreement between those paying for the project—MWAA and Loudoun and Fairfax counties—put the responsibility for those decks on Loudoun and Fairfax with the hope of finding developers to build them, most likely in exchange for beneficial rezonings.

While Fairfax plans to cover the cost of the Route 28 as part of the cost-cutting agreement, the station remains part of the bid, according to representatives for MWAA, because it must comply with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metro standards and requirements. Whereas developers are permitted to construct parking garages customized to their development, the stations themselves must meet certain standards that MWAA will oversee.

Fairfax must still try to find a way to pay for the project, likely through proffers from redevelopment proposals. If it does not, like the five garages, the costs go back into the project and are shared by the MWAA, Fairfax and Loudoun.

It was not clear when the bidding process would begin for Package B, the rail yard, while the garages in Package C may never go to bid if localities are successful in having developers fund them. If Package C goes to bid, it will likely not occur 12 months or so.

“It’s way off in the future,” said Pat Nowakowski, the project engineer. “At least a year, I’d say.”

As planned, construction should begin just trains are rolling on phase one in 2013.

Here are the names of four groups planning bid, and their partners:

Bechtel Transit Partners

The Walsh Group

  • The Walsh Group
  • Walsh Construction
  • Archer Western

Capital Rail Contractors

  • Clark Construction Group
  • Parsons Transportation Group
  • Kiewit Infrastructure Group
  • Dewberry

Silver Line Constructors

Dulles Metrorail Connectors


Learn more about the project at the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project website or on Patch.

Bob Bruhns July 30, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Of course, with an Inspector General in a new Inspector General position at MWAA, and with two audits being conducted by the Inspector General of US DOT, things might be a little bit different this time. But if some legal trick makes the Phase II contract line item prices some sort of State Secret, like the Phase I contract line item prices were, chances are pretty good that the Billion and a half dollars of excessive cost that I have mentioned, will burden this region for generations.
Rob Whitfield July 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Bob, MWAA's stated reason for confidentiality on Phase 1 is that Dulles Transit Partners used the Virginia Public Private Transportation Act provisions with Bechtel and Washington Group (now part of URS) as design/build contractor. Given that the two companies were orignally competitors to build a bus rapid transit project, the lack of transparency is an obvious ongoing concern. Bechtel has much to gain to overcome its negative reputation from its role in the Boston Big Dig problems. I give credit to MWAA's engineers, contractors, workers and field managers for an excellent Phase 1 safety record and on time schedule so far. The $150 million cost overrun projected versus the FFGA 2009 budget is partly due to design changes ordered by NTSB after Red Line crash. As today's Washington Examiner article shows, MWAA continues to operate under a veil of secrecy dictated by its Board to cover up "sweetheart" deals. http://washingtonexaminer.com/board-overseeing-dulles-rail-takes-care-of-its-own/article/2503535. I have long suggested that the Dulles Rail project would benefit from having a public oversight board. The self serving politicians on the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee have failed the public by failing to ask tough and timely questions. Far worse managerial, safety problems and potential misconduct may await us at WMATA, Silver Line operators. It is time for Congress to order audits at WMATA of their ongoing Metrorail safety and maintenance problems.
Bob Bruhns July 31, 2012 at 01:50 PM
People should read this article: Airports board takes care of its own http://washingtonexaminer.com/board-overseeing-dulles-rail-takes-care-of-its-own/article/2503535 Thanks for the link to that article, Rob. I suppose MWAA wants to make sure that former Board members can afford the skyrocketing tolls that are coming because they jacked up the price of the Silver Line so much. Too bad about the rest of us. Some things were done well in Dulles Rail Phase I - in particular, the very tricky tunnel in Tysons Corner. But the Phase I price was excessive, and Phase II is even worse. And as you say, WMATA now looms as an even worse problem. MWAA had even complained about the remarkable WMATA markup on the rail cars. And yes, the WMATA problem detecting the presence of trains on the tracks is an ongoing problem that resulted in a deadly crash and more recently resulted in a huge Metro shutdown. It's not a new problem. Also we know there are colossal WMATA maintenance and capital-needs exenses ahead, that our so-called 'leaders' didn't happen to mention while they pretended to consider the Silver Line rail project. People need to wake up.
Bob Bruhns October 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
One other point: line item costs in Dulles Rail Phase I were hidden because of a Public-Private Partnership. But the cost of Phase I is nearly two times what it should be. I thought a Public-Private Partnership was supposed to REDUCE costs - but apparently this is not the case.
Bob Bruhns December 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM
I just happened to notice that I made a mistake. The Dulles Rail Phase 1 Design-Build contract is actually here: Design-Build Contract (7.87 MB PDF) http://www.mwaa.com/file/p1dcmcontract_7_25_08.pdf


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