Sound Transit today announced that a lowest bid for the University of Washington to Capitol Hill tunnels came in $86 million, or 22%, less than the engineers’ estimate.
The tunnels are the the largest component of the University Link project. That project’s first construction contract came in $10 million under estimates last December.
Bruce Gray of Sound Transit noted these two bids reflected a positive environment for constructions projects. “Every day we see bids coming in lower than engineers’ estimate, as opposed to a few years ago when they were coming in higher than engineers’ estimate.”
The economic downturn has halted construction in other areas, meaning that there is less private demand for the contractors who are capable of work of this scale. Sound Transit engineers priced the tunneling project at $395,334,000. The lowest bid, from Traylor Frontier-Kemper Joint Venture, came in at $309,175,274.
Things aren’t completely rosy in the ST financial world. The same recession that has made the bid environment more favorable has also led to a projected $2.1 billion funding shortfall for Sound Transit 2 before it has even began collecting tax revenue. Still, these great bids reflect that it is the best time to make public infrastructure investment.