The Regional Transportation District Board of Directors approved in late July a $140-million, two-phased contract award to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. (BBII) to design and build the Southeast Rail Extension in Denver. Design will begin this fall, with construction expected to start in spring 2016.

The construction phase is dependent on the award of a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). BBII has committed to completing construction of the line by early 2019.

“The board’s contract award is a strong symbol of how much we value the collaborative and innovative spirit of working with our regional partners,” said RTD Board Chair Chuck Sisk.

The Southeast Rail Extension will build an additional 2.3 miles of light rail on the existing Southeast Rail Line south of Lincoln. The extension will run along the west side of I-25 from the Lincoln Station and then cross over the highway and run along the east side of the highway to the south side of RidgeGate Parkway in Douglas County. When the extension is complete, it will include an end-of-line station at RidgeGate Parkway, plus add 1,300 parking spaces, and bus transfer and kiss-n-ride facilities.

In addition, two more stations will be added as walkup or neighborhood stations. One will be adjacent to the Sky Ridge Medical Center, near I-25 and RidgeGate Parkway. The other will be in the planned Lone Tree City Center east of I-25, south of Lincoln Avenue.

“This extension will make it possible for RTD to connect people in a rapidly growing part of the metro area to the rest of the region, including Denver International Airport,” said Dave Genova, RTD’s interim general manager.

The current projected budget for the entire Southeast Rail Extension project is $233.1 million. That total includes $34 million spent through the end of 2014 on environmental analysis, preliminary engineering and design, and the acquisition of eight light rail vehicles for the project.

The remaining $198.7-million project cost will be financed through a combination of federal, private and local funds. Half of the project will be funded by the FTA’s New Starts program, which supplies major capital grants to metropolitan areas, plus a sizeable local match of 14% from private businesses and local governments in the southeast metro area, and 36% from RTD through local funding sources.

The project has already been accepted into FTA’s New Start’s engineering phase and is included in President Obama’s FY 2016 budget.

The BBII team includes Parsons Brinckerhoff (design); Capitol Management (DBE/SBE/WIN); Transit Safety & Security Solutions (system safety); Systems Consulting LLC, (quality assurance); and Communication Infrastructure Group (public information). 

Genova said BBII’s proposal “offered the best value and moves us forward to complete another critical FasTracks project.”

The current Southeast Rail Line is 19 miles long and connects passengers at I-25/Broadway to Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County and also runs along I-225 from I-25 to Parker Road in Aurora.