Arlington County approved the award of a $26 million, multiphase contract to HDR Engineering Inc. to begin engineering and design on the 7.4-mile Arlington-Fairfax streetcar system. The contractor will develop preliminary design plans for the Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Potomac Yard streetcar segments and technical specifications for the streetcar vehicles.
“The start of preliminary engineering is a major milestone, and keeps us on track to start streetcar service in 2020,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “As we move this project from concept to reality, we’ve assembled a team with proven expertise developing streetcar projects across the country and the skills to help us deliver this program cost-effectively.”
Expected to take 18 months, preliminary engineering will include developing 30% design plans for the roadway, track alignment, power, signals, stations and facilities; vehicle specifications; and updated construction cost estimates. Optional tasks cover items such as conditions discovered during engineering and additional surveys or traffic analysis. Subsequent phases of the contract, if awarded, may include final design or assistance transitioning the engineering work to an alternative project delivery contractor, such as a design-builder.
The Board voted 3 to 2 to award the streetcar engineering contract.
The contract amount, including base scope, options and contingency, is 5.4% of the streetcar program’s construction cost estimate – in line with the 3-7% industry standard and the 2012 Federal Transit Administration recommendation of 6% for the Columbia Pike segment. Arlington’s contract costs are funded by a combination of state grants, commercial real estate tax revenues that can only be spent on new transportation projects, and a fund dedicated to infrastructure investment in Crystal City.
Arlington’s planned streetcar system includes two segments – Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Potomac Yard – that meet in Pentagon City. High-capacity streetcars will operate along with buses to serve the growth in population and jobs expected along these corridors. The streetcar also will help create a more walkable “Main Street” on Columbia Pike and encourage more people to use transit – while attracting new jobs and generating new tax revenues for Arlington and Fairfax Counties.