Seattle— The University Link light rail extension moved closer to construction recently when six bids on the first major construction contract came in below cost estimates.
Condon Johnson & Associates Inc. is the apparent low bidder with a $19.4-million bid to prepare the area where a tunnel boring machine will pass beneath Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle, with a bid 34 percent below the $29.6-million engineers' estimate.
"We are pleased with the response of the contracting community as well as the favorable results today," said Sound Transit Link Light Rail Director Ahmad Fazel. "We hope this high level of interest carries forward to the remaining University Link contracts. Now we need to roll up our sleeves and work with the contractor to ensure smooth execution of the job and mutual success for both Sound Transit and the contractor."
The work is necessary to build the light rail lines' 3.15-mile twin bored tunnels between the University of Washington, Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle. The work will take place in the area on either side of I-5 near the Olive Way exit ramp to Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Located entirely underground, University Link includes stations at Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, and is an extension to the Link light rail line that will open between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport in 2009. The $1.9-billion University Link extension is expected to open in 2016.