Contractor blames red tape for Tacoma light-rail project delay
Posted on 25th April 2023 at 12:06
The grand opening for the 2.4-mile, six-station streetcar project is likely to occur in late August, as opposed to its May 2022 target, at an estimated cost of $283m (£227m), including $65m generated by overruns.
Jim Grohs, vice president of subcontractor Liberty Electric, blames a lot of the delays on issues underground. "The major issue with the job was the wet utilities," he said. Conflicts with old water and sewer pipes interfered with power pole foundations that extend 15 to 20 feet deep. The veteran-owned business installed the line's 340 steel poles, which support the catenary wires that power the electric streetcars. Grohs says he's waited months for Sound Transit to approve and pay change orders when underground obstacles disrupted the pace.
Liberty emailed elected officials on the 18-member transit board Feb. 1, to seek $7 million to $12 million for lost time and 737 extra work orders.
Sound Transit contends Liberty was unrealistic about conditions in Tacoma. "Ultimately, contractors are pricing risk. Their bids should reflect that," spokesperson David Jackson said.
"We are working toward a quality and safe project that will open in 2023," CEO Julie Timm said in a video message to the public. Full-power train tests are underway.'
The completed Hilltop extension should attract 2,000 to 4,000 more daily riders, Sound Transit says, by serving a pair of hospitals, Wright Park, historic Stadium District, and increased housing along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. Five streetcar vehicles will be added to the existing fleet.
Tagged as: Tacoma
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