The successful completion this spring of twin 2.1-mile-long bored tunnels in Seattle marks a literal breakthrough in that city's troubled history of light-rail construction. It also represents the halfway mark in the 3.15-mile, $1.9-billion project to connect downtown with the University of Washington.The 21-ft-dia tunnels run between Capitol Hill and the university. A Traylor Bros. Inc. and Kemper-Frontier Constructors Inc. joint venture worked under a $309-million contract.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.