The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is taking the next major step in advancing the transformational Red Line Extension (RLE) project by seeking the most qualified firms in the industry to design and build the 5.6-mile rail line extension, which will provide long-awaited and much needed connection to jobs, education, commerce, and opportunity, while also serving as a catalyst for economic development that benefits the entire City of Chicago.
The planned $3.6 billion RLE project will extend the Red Line from the existing southern terminal at 95th Street to 130th Street. As part of the RLE project, four new accessible rail stations will be added, plus a new and modern efficient railcar storage yard and maintenance facility that will benefit users of the entire Red Line.
As part of a two-step procurement process, the CTA announced it will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select a pool of the most qualified contracting teams that can demonstrate the ability to design and build the mainline infrastructure and stations portion of the RLE project.
Commencing work on the RLE project is dependent on securing funding, however, by beginning this process of pre-qualifying potential contractors now will help expedite overall project development and ensure CTA maintains its timeline to begin construction as early as 2025.
“The Red Line Extension is more than just a transit project, it is a long-overdue investment for Chicago’s Far South Side that will provide benefits that extend to all corners of the city,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. “There’s never been a better time than now to advance such a project, which is why we are full-steam ahead and beginning the lengthy process of seeking out qualified contractors for this complex project so that we can stay on course with the project timeline. The sooner we can award a contract, the sooner we are able to start extending contracting opportunities to small, disadvantaged local businesses and creating good paying jobs for Chicagoans.”
Once a pool of candidate teams is finalized, CTA will then invite the potential bidders to submit proposals on how they suggest designing and building the RLE project when the agency issues its Request for Proposals (RFP) — all of which is expected to occur in mid-2023. The proposals will be considered on a variety of criteria, including experience, price, and other factors.
The RLE project is expected to create 6,200 direct construction jobs. CTA will host numerous outreach events to encourage participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)-certified firms and other minority owned firms that wish to participate in the project to meet the DBE goals that will be assessed.
Additionally, the project RFP will include a section that requires proposers to describe their plans to reach out to the DBE community and their strategies to meet or exceed the workforce goals that will be established for the project.