MWAA unveils bids for second phase of Silver Line extension


Eric Carey, procurement officer for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, left, receives a packet of proposals from procurement technician Felipe Dominguez during the opening of bid proposals at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Friday. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
April 19, 2013

A group that includes Bethesda-based Clark Construction on Friday submitted the lowest bid in the competition to build the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line rail extension.

Capital Rail Constructors, which also includes Kiewit Infrastructure Group, submitted a bid of $1.18 billion — about $14 million less than the next lowest bidder, Bechtel Transit Partners.

Before Capital Rail Constructors can be awarded the contract, however, its bid, and the four others, will be scrutinized by officials from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing construction of the rail extension.

“Obviously we have more work to do, but what we see today looks very positive,” said Pat Nowakowski, executive director for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project.

Revealed on Friday afternoon in a public event at MWAA headquarters, the bids were good news for the authority. All five came in below the range of $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion that MWAA had projected as a guide to bidders.


The first phase of the Silver Line should begin carrying passengers through Tysons Corner to Reston later this year.

The Silver Line is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country. With a total estimated price tag of $5.6 billion, the 23.1-mile-long line eventually will extend train service through Tysons to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County. The project’s first phase, which runs from East Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

At Friday’s event, representatives from the construction groups hoping to win the contract packed into an MWAA conference room. At 2:03 p.m., an MWAA official began unsealing the envelopes and announcing the numbers, which were then displayed on giant screens. By 2:10 p.m., all the bids had been announced.

Bechtel Transit Partners, which is building the first phase of the rail line, offered the second-lowest bid, coming in at $1.19 billion. That was followed by Dulles APC Railbuilders at $1.29 billion, Dulles Metrorail Connectors at $1.33 billion and Silver Line Constructors at $1.38 billion.

Leaders in Northern Virginia have long viewed the Silver Line as a project that will shape development and fuel economic growth in the region for decades to come.

There is a consolation prize for the teams that are not selected. As long as their proposals meet required technical standards, they will each receive $1.5 million. Authority officials offered the incentive to increase competition and attract the best proposals.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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