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HomeContractingVPRA selects construction partners for $2.7 billion bridge projects

VPRA selects construction partners for $2.7 billion bridge projects

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) says that it has selected construction partners for two of its most significant Transforming Rail in Virginia (TRV) projects. For the Long Bridge-North Package, VPRA has selected Skanska/Flatiron Joint Venture, and for the Franconia-Springfield Bypass, VPRA has selected Flatiron/Herzog Joint Venture.

The Long Bridge project is estimated to cost $2.3 billion, while the estimated cost of the Franconia-Springfield Bypass project is $405 million, VPRA says in a Dec. 6 statement.

“Selecting construction partners for the Long Bridge-North Package and the Franconia-Springfield Bypass represents a significant milestone in our plan to build passenger rail infrastructure at a level not seen in generations,” VRPA executive director DJ Stadtler said in the news release. “We look forward to working with both teams in this important step toward making rail a viable transportation option and truly Transforming Rail in Virginia.”

“We are eager to collaborate with both teams to bring Virginia another step closer in dramatically improving its rail infrastructure,” said Jennifer DeBruhl, director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and Chair of the VPRA board. “With the Long Bridge-North Package and Franconia-Springfield Bypass, Virginians will one day be able to have more abilities to travel by train, and the economy will grow with a more efficient rail network benefitting both passenger and freight rail.”

Long Bridge-North Package

The Long Bridge-North Package will use the Progressive Design-Build project delivery method. In March, VPRA issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) seeking qualified design-build teams for the north end of the Long Bridge Project from the northern banks of the Potomac River to just south of the L’Enfant Virgina Railway Express (VRE) Station.

The selection of Skanska/Flatiron Joint Venture is a significant step towards the realization of the largest project in the Commonwealth’s TRV initiative. Currently, Long Bridge is near 30% design. The Skanska/Flatiron Joint Venture team will take the project from the design phase through construction. Early prep work is expected to begin in 2024 with full construction commencing in early 2025. Construction is expected to be completed in 2030.

The current Long Bridge – a 119-year-old railroad bridge – connects Arlington, Virginia with the District of Columbia and regularly operates at 98 percent capacity during peak periods. As a result, additional capacity is necessary to meet future demand and to relieve a major chokepoint for rail traffic along the East Coast.

The Long Bridge Project, which consists of two procurement packages (a North Package and a South Package), will construct a new modern, two-track railroad bridge and will allow for the separation of passenger and freight rail traffic, improving trip times and on-time performance for both along the corridor.

The North Package encompasses a very complicated construction area from the new bridge’s northern abutment moving north to L’Enfant interlocking near L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, DC.

This package includes the construction of a number of smaller bridges within the project footprint, including:

  • a new rail bridge over the WMATA Portal/I-395;
  • the replacement of the existing two-track Ohio Drive SW Rail Bridge with a four-track bridge;
  • the replacement of the existing two-track Washington Channel Rail Bridge with a four-track bridge;
  • the replacement of the existing two-track Maine Avenue SW Rail Bridge with a four-track bridge; and
  • the replacement of the Maine Avenue SW Pedestrian Bridge.

While the North Package will construct rail track and a series of bridges north of the Potomac River, the Long Bridge-South Package will consist of the bridge span over the Potomac River and an adjacent bicycle-pedestrian bridge. The South Package is currently in the procurement process with a Request for Proposals to be released to shortlisted teams by VPRA in February of 2024.

The estimated cost of the entire Long Bridge Project – including both the North and South packages – is $2.3 billion.

Franconia-Springfield Bypass

The Franconia-Springfield Bypass project will be delivered using the Construction Manager/General Contractor project delivery method. After issuing a Request for Proposals and receiving responsive proposals from teams, VPRA selected Flatiron/Herzog Joint Venture.

The Franconia-Springfield Bypass will alleviate train interference at one of the most congested points in Virginia – between Fredericksburg and Washington, DC. When complete, the bypass will be an approximately 0.9-mile-long, dedicated passenger rail bridge located just south of the Franconia-Springfield Metro station. Site clearing and early construction work are expected to begin by the end of March 2024 with full construction expected to commence in 2024 and last for two years.

“Flatiron and Herzog are thrilled to partner with the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority on the Franconia-Springfield Bypass project. This partnership leverages our collective rail expertise throughout North America and strengthens Flatiron’s presence in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. area,” said Jim Schneiderman, Flatiron senior vice-president for Mid-Atlantic. “Flatiron and Herzog are both committed to enhancing the well-being of communities in which we live and work. This project will do just that by reducing congestion and providing safer, more reliable rail service.”

The bypass structure will be owned by VPRA and will allow passenger trains to cross over the two existing freight tracks to reach station passenger stops on the opposite of the railroad, providing improved service for both passenger and freight trains through the area. The bypass will further VPRA’s mission to create two separate rail corridors, one for passenger trains and one for freight trains and will serve both Amtrak and VRE trains.

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.

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