Eagle Public-Private Partnership (P3) Commuter Rail Design-Build
- Three electric commuter rail lines totaling about 40 miles
- Denver's first commuter rail network
- Features 36 bridges
- Harmonizes with interstate systems and freight rail corridors
- AC current-powered catenary system reduced long-term operating costs
The Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) is undertaking a multi-billion dollar comprehensive transit expansion plan called FasTracks that will result in 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit, 21,000 new parking spaces at transit stations and enhanced bus service. The Eagle P3 Design-Build project is a key component of FasTracks, providing the Denver metro area's first commuter rail network.
Eagle P3 takes its name, in part, from its delivery method. A public-private partnership (P3) is an innovative financing and project delivery method in which a public entity partners with the private sector on a public infrastructure project. The private team invests its own money through borrowing or equity and assumes much of the risk associated with a project. This allows the public entity to spread out large, up-front costs while preserving public cash for use in the early construction years of a project.
The Eagle P3 is a $2.2 billion capital project comprised of federal funds, RTD sales tax bonds and private equity from the concessionaire team, Denver Transit Partners (DTP). Eagle P3 received a $1.03 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration on Aug. 31, 2011.
Fluor/HDR Global Design Consultants, LLC, serves as Eagle P3's lead designer within DTP — the concessionaire selected to design, build, finance, operate and maintain (30 years) the project. HDR is responsible for all rail system planning, design and implementation, including about three dozen bridges, and is responsible to the joint venture for forming and managing the systems engineering team, providing services during all phases of the project.
During the request for proposal stage, Fluor/HDR, LLC, developed various alternative technical concepts that improved the project's cost effectiveness and satisfied RTD's guidelines. We were selected to perform all rail system planning and design. We formed and continue to manage the design systems engineering team, providing all design and engineering services during all project phases.
A major project phase was completed successfully in the spring of 2016, when Denver residents celebrated the opening of Eagle P3's flagship commuter rail corridor: the University of Colorado A Line. This line employed our design for 22.8 miles of trackway, 16 rail bridges, 13 grade crossings, seven transit stations, and one traction-power substation.
In late July, 2016, the second of Eagle P3's three commuter lines opened: the B Line to Westminster. This 5.5-mile direct route between Denver Union Station and the Westminster community operates within existing freight-rail right of way while minimizing impact on freight operations. Our design scope included an all new Westminster Station with a signature canopy, the aesthetics of which harmonize with aesthetics at Denver Union Station and Denver International Airport Station.
We are also leading design for the Gold (G) Line that will open later in 2016. At 11.2 miles, the Gold Line will link Denver Union Station to Wheat Ridge, serving Northwest Denver, Adams County and Arvada, with six stops inbetween.
Innovations in Denver's First Commuter Rail Network
The University of Colorado A Line is among the first electric commuter lines in the Western U.S. to employ alternating-current (AC) electric power through its overhead catenary system rather than a more common, direct-current system. Circumstances in the Denver area allowed us to take advantage of this unique innovation, which reduced the number of power substations needed to power trains. Consequently, our design cost less to build and will cost less to operate and maintain — without sacrificing performance. The University of Colorado A Line transports passengers at speeds up to 79 mph. It offers easy, affordable and reliable transportation between Denver International Airport and Denver Union Station.
"The opening of the University of Colorado A Line is a historic milestone toward the completion of RTD's FasTracks program and continues our success rate of opening major infrastructure projects," said General Manager and CEO of RTD, Dave Genova in an April 22, 2016 press release. "We continue to transform the region and the University of Colorado A Line will connect the Denver metro area to the world."