The Metropolitan Council has released the names of firms bidding for preliminary engineering work on the 15-mile Southwest light rail project.
The list includes San Francisco-based URS Corp., which designed the Minneapolis Sabo bike and pedestrian bridge, and consulted on the Interstate 35W bridge which collapsed in 2007. While URS did not design or build the 35W bridge, it did agree to pay more than $50 million to settle lawsuits stemming from the collapse.
The Met Council this summer cancelled the procurement for the original $94 million Southwest LRT contract over concerns about URS, which was the front runner for the project. Instead, the engineering services contract work will be divided in half (the Met Council plans to advertise a third contract for independent peer review of the design later this year).
Here’s the list of bidders for preliminary engineering on Southwest:
-RFP 12P176, Preliminary Engineering Consultant Services for the Southwest Light Rail Transit Project – Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis:
• Kimley-Horn and Associates
• Parsons Brinckerhoff
-RFP 12P177, Preliminary Engineering Consultant Services for the Southwest Light Rail Transit Project – Eden Prairie and Minnetonka:
• AECOM (which also bid on the first SWLRT contract)
The council says each bid will be evaluated “based on the proposer’s qualifications, experience and content of its proposal. Separate evaluation panels made up of a cross section of Met Council Southwest LRT Project office staff, Hennepin County staff and staff from the cities on the corridor will review and rate the proposals.”
In an earlier interview, the Met Council’s Mark Fuhrmann, program director for light rail projects, said opening the project to multiple firms and adding an independent review will ensure safety along the LRT and make Southwest a stronger transit project. “The benefit and the importance of having an independent set of eyes take a look at the technical design documents before construction so that all of those engineering details can be critically reviewed, and if necessary adjusted, before projects go to construction,” said Fuhrmann.
Contracts could be awarded as early as December for the line, which is expected to open to the public in 2018.