Bidding process begins for major $1.1 billion contract for Surrey-Langley SkyTrain

Aug 4 2022, 10:01 pm

The provincial government has kicked off the procurement process for one of the largest of the three major contracts to build the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project of extending the Expo Line.

As of this week, private contractors are being invited to submit their interest in bidding for the first contract for building the 16 km concreted elevated guideway and supporting pillars. The provincial government has budgeted $1.11 billion for this work out of the project’s entire budget of $4.01 billion.

In addition to the design and construction of the elevated guideway, the selected contractor will also be required to cover 20% of the construction financing for its scope of contracted work.

The provincial government will make its shortlist of applicants invited to participate in the request for proposals (RFP) stage in late 2022, which will involve each bidder submitting detailed plans for consideration. The selected elevated guideway contractor for the first contract will be announced in September 2023.

The second contract will be to build the eight new additional stations, nine power propulsion power stations, and a 250-metre of elevated guideway construction at the Expo Line’s new easternmost terminus of 203 Street Station. This will be awarded as a design-build contract, with the separate procurement process starting this fall.

The third contract will be for electrical systems, track work, communications, and automated train control, based on a target price contract. Procurement for this contract will begin in late 2022.

surrey-langley skytrain alignment

Alignment of the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. (Government of BC)

surrey-langley skytrain alignment map

Route alignment of the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. (Government of BC)

Typically, SkyTrain extension projects are awarded to a single contractor or consortium, which then subcontracts the various project components to other companies.

Spanish engineering giant Acciona and tunnelling firm Ghella have formed a partnership as the main contractor for the Millennium Line Broadway Extension currently under construction for a 2025 opening, while SNC-Lavalin was the main contractor for the Canada Line and Millennium Line Evergreen Extension.

The provincial government previously explained that Surrey-Langley SkyTrain’s unique approach of three separate major contracts will “increase bid competition and enable more local companies to bid on different elements of the project.” Under the typical large single-contract model, local companies may not have the capacity to handle the entire multibillion-dollar project.

But the entire combined value of the three contracts will not reach $4.01 billion, as this figure also includes expenses incurred by the provincial government, municipal governments, and TransLink relating to design work, planning, land acquisitions, and early site preparation works.

The budgeted value of the latter two contracts is not known at this time, but construction financing is not being asked for.

For instance, the Millennium Line Broadway Extension’s contract value is $1.73 billion, but the entire project cost is $2.83 billion.

Major construction activities on the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain are slated to begin in 2024. When the extension opens in late 2028, the travel time between King George Station and 203 Street Station will be about 22 minutes, and the travel time between Waterfront Station and 203 Street Station will be about 62 minutes.

surrey-langley skytrain fraser highway widening green timbers

The 2021-completed widening of the eastern span of Fraser Highway within Green Timbers Urban Forest to a four-lane standard with a median, accommodating the future Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

surrey-langley skytrain 203 street station

Conceptual artistic depiction of 203 Street Station on the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. (Government of BC)

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