Multi-Agency Team of Experts Evaluated Contenders Based on Strict Criteria
Bidders Will be Invited to Demonstrate Ability to Deliver Project in Record Timeframe and Mitigate Construction Impacts on Commuters and Local Communities
The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today announced the list of private construction industry consortia deemed qualified to bid to work on the LIRR Expansion Project, a new proposal to add a third track to 10 miles of the railroad’s Main Line and modify seven grade crossings in the project area, among other improvements. The announcement marks an important milestone for the project, a signature initiative of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s and part of his comprehensive, interconnected plan to improve transit and transportation throughout the region and state.
“This pivotal project will drive the long-overdue modernization of the LIRR,” said LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski. “The Governor’s proposal will achieve critically important reliability and service improvements for customers, but differs completely from prior proposals by minimizing the impacts of construction on local communities. Several consortia of world-renowned firms have been identified as qualified to bid on this landmark project and we look forward to seeing the innovation that they propose to speed construction and reduce the impacts on the communities surrounding the project area.”
“State DOT is looking forward to collaborating with the eventual winning bidder for this project in order to see the best private sector innovations applied to the grade crossing modifications in this project,” NYSDOT Commissioner Matthew Driscoll said.
The project is using the innovative “design-build” process in which a single firm or consortium is responsible for both the design and construction of a project. This process puts competitive pressure on bidders to harness innovation to identify faster ways to complete projects, and mitigate the impacts of construction, with the final contract imposing financial penalties for failure to adhere to a strict project timetable. This process incentivizes faster construction, places the risk for cost overruns on the contractor, and rewards contractors for reducing impacts on local communities and commuters. Design-build has been used successfully in projects such as the new Tappan Zee Bridge and the LIRR’s Ellison Avenue Bridge replacement.
The qualified design-build entities will be invited to enter a competitive bidding process in which a Request for Proposals will highlight the project’s emphasis on meeting project milestone dates and minimizing local community impacts of construction, among other priorities. No contract would be awarded until after the environmental review process is concluded, SEQRA Findings are issued and the project is authorized by the MTA Board. As noted in the project’s Draft EIS, contractors will be expected to include in their bids specific efforts to reduce the impacts of construction, including:
- Pre-construction home inspections
- Satellite parking to keep workers’ personal vehicles out of residential streets
- Using existing track to transport materials to and from work sites
- Advance notification of any disruptive work or road closures to residents, municipalities, school districts and first-responders
- Scheduling construction deliveries outside of school and commuter traffic peak hours to the maximum extent practicable
- Creating and implementing a community noise and vibration monitoring program
- Implementing an air quality control plan to include dust control measures, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, the use of best available tailpipe technologies such as diesel particulate filters, and the utilization of newer equipment
- Environmental monitoring consistent with a Construction Health and Safety Plan
- Protecting access to existing businesses
- Street cleaning as needed
- Door-to-door outreach to residents
- Regular online updates to the public
- Staffing the Project Information Office with on-site supervision for rapid response to neighborhood concerns
- 24/7 hotline assigned to a community outreach representative
The qualified consortia announced today are, in alphabetical order:
- 3rd Track Constructors (John P. Picone Inc., Dragados USA, Inc., CCA Civil, Inc., and Halmar International LLC)
- Skanska Kiewit Posillico JV (Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc., Kiewit Infrastructure Co., and Posillico Civil, Inc.)
- Third Track Partners (Granite Construction Northeast, Inc., Judlau Contracting, Inc., and The Lane Construction Corporation)
- Tutor Perini / O&G JV (Tutor Perini Corporation and O&G Industries, Inc.)
An informational open house was held in December 2016 for potential applicants, including minority and women owned businesses, to educate them about the project. The bidders above were evaluated and selected by a team of expert reviewers consisting of personnel from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, LIRR, NYSDOT, New York City Transit, Metro-North and the Port Authority of NY and NJ. Experts in procurement, engineering, construction, environmental analysis, law, finance and community outreach analyzed each bidder’s statements of qualifications according to criteria including:
- Experience in projects of this scale;
- Past performance with a record of quality and completion of projects on time and within budget;
- Qualified personnel who have successfully managed all aspects of similar projects;
- Commitment and ability to minimize construction impacts;
- Financial strength and capability; and
- Diversity practices
ABOUT THE LIRR EXPANSION PROJECT
The LIRR Expansion Project is a completely new proposal to add a third track to 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville – an enhancement that would improve service throughout the entire LIRR system.
This project differs completely from previous attempts to add a third track to the two-track Main Line in multiple respects. First and foremost, this project is designed without a single residential property being taken, as promised by Governor Cuomo soon after the proposal was announced last year. As shown by detailed figures in the Draft EIS, this will be achieved by building the third track entirely within the LIRR’s existing property lines.
The project also includes numerous newly added customer and community benefits, including:
- No residential property acquisitions;
- Eliminating all street-level train crossings within the 9.8 mile project corridor;
- Sound barrier walls to reduce noise;
- Station renovations and upgrades;
- Additional parking;
- Increased reliance on private construction industry expertise to minimize construction duration, impacts and cost; and
- Unprecedented level of public outreach to engage local officials, homeowners and other stakeholders and use their input while the project is being planned
With up to 40 percent of the LIRR’s 308,000 daily passengers going through the Main Line, which serves as the main corridor through which many branches of the LIRR travel, the proposed project will improve service for more than half a million passengers per week.
The elimination and modification of all seven street-level train crossings within the project area will reduce traffic jams that are particularly bad at peak rush hour periods at crossing gates; will eliminate noise from train horns, crossing bells and honking cars; and will greatly improve safety by removing areas where vehicles and pedestrians can collide with trains. Right now, trains are required to blow their horns as they pass through grade crossings, and additional noise comes from bells that alert nearby drivers, who idle in long lines as they wait for trains to pass and honk their horns when gates open. The Department of Transportation will oversee the grade crossing component of the project.
The project will also result in significant noise reduction throughout sections of the project corridor from proposed retaining walls and sound attenuation walls along the railroad’s right-of-way. While these structures will reduce noise from existing train traffic, they will have an even greater impact after the significant service increases from the future East Side Access Project go into effect in a few years.
The project also includes major track infrastructure upgrades like new switches, signals and power equipment, as well as station renovations and upgrades like new, longer platforms to accommodate full-length trains, removing delays and safety issues associated with passengers needing to move between cars on shorter platforms. The project also proposes more than 2,000 additional parking spots to address projected future ridership growth. These and other proposed components of the project are the result of months of direct consultation with local elected officials and community members, as well as analysis by experienced transportation engineers.
Other environmental benefits from the project, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions, derive from reduced automobile trips as a result of additional and more reliable rail service.
Last week, six public hearings were held to inform the public about the project’s Draft EIS, and to receive comments about it. The public comment period is open until Feb. 15, 2017 at 5 p.m. Comments may be made by visiting the project website at www.aModernLI.com or the project’s walk-in information center at Mineola Station.
The LIRR Expansion Project is part of a broader, ongoing effort by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to improve transit and transportation throughout New York State. On Long Island, projects like the Double Track Project between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, the Jamaica Capacity Improvements Project, and the East Side Access Project to bring LIRR to Grand Central Terminal, will all bring better service to LIRR customers and help ease congestion on clogged local streets and highways such as the Long Island Expressway, Northern and Southern State Parkways, and Grand Central and Belt Parkways.