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

The provincial government has launched the procurement process for one of the largest of three major construction contracts for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain Expo Line Extension project.

Starting this week, private contractors are invited to apply for the first contract to build the 16 km concrete elevated guideway and supporting pillars. The provincial government has budgeted $1.11 billion for this work out of the total project 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 the scope of the contracted work.

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

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

The third contract will cover electrical systems, track works, communications and automated train control, based on a target price contract. Procurement for this contract will begin at the end of 2022.

SkyTrain Surrey-Langley alignment. (Government of British Columbia)

surrey-langley skytrain alignment plan

SkyTrain Surrey-Langley route alignment. (Government of British Columbia)

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

Spanish engineering giant Acciona and tunneling company Ghella have formed a partnership as the prime contractor for the Broadway extension of the Millennium Line currently under construction for opening in 2025, while SNC-Lavalin was the master of the Evergreen Extension of the Canada Line and the Millennium Line.

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

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

The budgeted value of these last two contracts is not known at this time, but construction financing is not requested.

For example, the Millennium Line Broadway Extension contract value is $1.73 billion, but the total cost of the project is $2.83 billion.

The main construction activities of the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain are expected to begin in 2024. When the extension opens in late 2028, the journey time between King George station and 203 Street station will be approximately 22 minutes, and the journey time between Waterfront Station and 203 Street Station will be approximately 62 minutes.

surrey langley skytrain fraser highway widening green timbers

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

surrey langley 203 skytrain station

Conceptual artistic rendering of the 203 Street station on the SkyTrain Surrey-Langley. (Government of British Columbia)

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