Friday, April 22 marked the grand opening of the University of Colorado A Line, a new 22.8 mile commuter rail line linking the Denver International Airport to Denver Union Station in the heart of the city. The owner, Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD), celebrated the event with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and free rides to and from the airport on Friday and Saturday.
Awarded in 2010 to the Denver Transit Partners concessionaire, the University of Colorado A Line is one component of the 36 mile Eagle P3 Commuter Rail Network project, the nation’s first passenger rail public-private partnership(P3). P3 is a unique project delivery model that enabled RTD to partner with the Denver Transit Partners team to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the $2.2 billion commuter rail network project.
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc., an infrastructure contractor headquartered in Atlanta, GA, is a member of the Denver Transit Partners team responsible for the delivery of the Eagle P3 Commuter Rail Network project. The firm is also a member of the design-build contracting team Denver Transit Systems, which is responsible for the design and construction of the fixed facilities and the systems, the procurement of the rolling stock, systems integration and testing and acceptance of the train. As part of a seperate joint venture, Denver Transit Constructors (DTC), Balfour Beatty Infrastructure was subcontracted to DTS for the design and construction of the fixed facilities and the systems.Other team members include Fluor Corporation, Ames Construction, Alternate Concepts and Parsons Brinckerhoff.
The Eagle P3 project is part of RTD’s FasTracks Plan, a multi-billion dollar transit expansion program to build and operate new commuter, light rail and bus rapid transit services and expands transportation offerings throughout the eight-county metro area in Denver. In addition to the University of Colorado A Line, which opened on April 22, other components of the project include:
- Gold Line, a new 11.2 mile commuter rail line from Denver Union Station to Wheat Ridge, Colorado
- An initial two mile segment of the Northwest Electrified Rail Corridor, which will be open in summer 2016
- A new commuter rail maintenance facility that was certified LEED Gold in May 2015
- Provision and integration of rolling stock,infrastructure elements (track, stations, structures and railway/road crossings) and systems elements (traction power, power supply, Automated Train Control/Positive Train Control, signaling, communications, and SCADA systems)
- Operations and maintenance of the three rail lines, including the new 66-vehicle fleet until the end of 2044 (29 years).Denver Transit Operators (DTO), the team responsible for the O&M contract,will have over 200 full-time employees and revenues over $50 million per year.
As part of the Denver Transit Partners team, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure completed construction of the 22.8 mile University of Colorado A Line in March of 2015. Over the past year, the team has completed a rigorous 1,000 hours of testing on each car along the electrified corridor to ensure safety and reliability before customers can start using the new line. This extensive testing process is required of transit projects that receive federal funding.
“The grand opening of the University of Colorado A Line is an exciting milestone for RTD, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure and everyone involved in the delivery of the Eagle P3 project,” said Roger Wilson, Vice President of Balfour Beatty Infrastructure’s Rail Division. “The University of Colorado A Line is probably the most identifiable component of the Eagle P3 project, providing a necessary link from the downtown area to the airport with six stations in between. We are excited to participate in the grand opening for this key transit link and look forward to continued work with RTD in the operations and maintenance of the line over the next 28 years.
“Increasing our presence in the design-build and alternative delivery markets for transit and infrastructure projects is directly in line with our corporate strategy,” said Ray Bond, President and CEO of Balfour Beatty Infrastructure.“The Eagle P3 project has been a critical component of this long-term strategy,and we look forward to safely operating and maintaining the network through 2044.”
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure is also leading the design and construction of the phase one of the North Metro Rail Line, RTD’s next commuter rail extension project. The 12.5 mile rail line will deliver commuters from Denver Union Station to 124th Avenue with future plans to extend the commuter rail line an additional six miles to Highway 7. The project includes construction of the Skyway Bridge, which will be the longest bridge in the state of Colorado upon completion in 2018.
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