Amtrak chooses delivery partner model for tunnel project

6 December 2022

Amtrak is seeking a delivery partner for the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program in Baltimore.

The transport company decided on a delivery partner model following a recent Request for Information, which invited feedback on the approach.

“Amtrak received strong industry response to the Delivery Partner RFI, demonstrating a significant appetite for a private partner with ‘skin in the game’ to ensure a successful project delivery,” said Amtrak’s vice-president, program development and project services, Tony Ryan. “Timely advancement of this program is critical as we work to modernise and transform the Northeast Corridor, reducing delays and adding capacity for the future.”

The call for the delivery partner is expected to be launched in January. The delivery partner engagement complements the construction manager at risk (CMAR) for the first phase of the program, the Southern Approach, which is already in the Request for Proposal stage of procurement. The Southern Approach CMAR solicitation includes:

  • the new ADA-compliant West Baltimore MARC Station
  • all major excavation for the approach to the south portal for the new tunnel and bridge construction
  • some utility and road work

It is Amtrak’s first use of the CMAR alternate delivery method, which will improve project delivery time and allow design, pre-construction and pricing work to proceed simultaneously. Amtrak says collaboration on the design offers an opportunity for innovation and reduces its risk for substantial changes to the scope of work later.

The B&P Tunnel Replacement Program will replace the existing nearly 150-year-old B&P Tunnel – Amtrak’s oldest tunnel – with the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel. As part of the larger strategy to increase capacity and reliability on the Northeast Corridor, the existing B&P Tunnel will be dedicated to freight service, and the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel will be used for passenger services.

Future construction packages for the program will be announced next year. They will include one tunnel package for the twin-bore tunnel construction work, featuring two parallel tunnels, each containing a single rail track.