Client
Denver Regional Transportation District
Location
Denver, Colorado

Eagle P3 Commuter Rail Line - Design-Build-Operate

In 2010, the Denver Transit Partners (DTP) concession began designing and building the 36-mile Eagle Commuter Rail Network. Fluor is managing partner of the concession and design-build contracts, and a 33-percent partner in operating and maintaining the completed system. As DTP's managing partner, Fluor's scope included the financing, design, construction, testing and commissioning of the network, as well as providing operations and maintenance services.

On April 22, 2016, the 23-mile University of Colorado A Line officially opened to the public. The University of Colorado A Line, serving commuters between downtown Denver Union Station and Denver International Airport, contains eight stations along the route and uses new rail cars that are a first-of-their kind in Denver with level boarding to better accommodate travelers with luggage and accessibility needs. The cars reach top speeds of 79 miles per hour and can carry up to 200 passengers.

The Eagle P3 project also includes the Gold Line (G Line) between Denver Union Station and Arvada/Wheat Ridge, an initial segment of the Northwest Rail Line to South Westminster called the B Line, and the LEED Gold®-certificated Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility (CRMF). Using the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain model, the DTP will also operate and maintain the University of Colorado A Line, G Line, B Line and the CRMF for the next 28 years.

In July 2016, the six-mile B Line from Denver's Downtown Union Station to Westminster Station was completed and opened. The B Line transports riders from the historic center of Westminster, located in the growing Denver-Boulder corridor, to the dynamic Union Station Transit Center, where they can connect to the C, E and W light rail lines, the new University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport, as well as local and regional buses.

In April 2019, Fluor announced that the Eagle P3 Commuter Rail Project completed construction and opened the 11-mile G Line from Downtown Union Station to Wheat Ridge Station. This milestone marks the third and final commuter rail line opening for the Denver Regional Transportation District.

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Client's Challenge

The Eagle Commuter Rail Project is part of the Regional Transportation District's FasTracks Plan, a 12-year, multibillion-dollar transit expansion program to build and operate new commuter and light rail services and to expand transportation offerings throughout the eight-county area. The Eagle project is a public-private partnership for development of the following portions of the new system:

  • East Corridor – a new 22.8-mile commuter rail line from Denver International Airport to Denver Union Station
  • Gold Line – a new 11.2-mile commuter rail line from Union Station to Wheat Ridge, Colorado
  • An initial 2-mile segment of the Northwest Electrified Rail Corridor
  • Approximately 50 new electric-powered commuter railcars
  • A new commuter rail maintenance facility
  • Provision and integration of rolling stock, infrastructure elements (track, stations, structures and railway / road crossings), and system elements (traction power, power supply, automated train control/positive train control, signaling, communications, and SCADA systems)
  • Operations and maintenance of the three rail lines

The challenges associated with transportation development in an urban area such as Denver include working in the vicinities of heavy traffic and of two operating railroads, relocating more than 900 utilities, and monitoring and complying with myriad environmental requirements of the multiple jurisdictions through which the rail corridor passes. Rail Cars Photo Courtesy of Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD)


Fluor's Solution

As managing partner of DTP, Fluor was responsible for financing, design, construction, testing and commissioning, and operations and maintenance of the 36-mile Eagle Commuter Rail network. This included arranging and managing the financing and directing the efforts for design-build and operations and maintenance.

Procedures and processes were enumerated in various plans to address traffic control, the maintenance of traffic and mitigation of the impact of construction on surrounding areas. The plans also covered the safety of workers, the travelling public, and nearby residents, as well as the protection of project assets.

According to the Denver Business Journal, DTP created a "round table" with small and minority-owned business owners to help divide the work into contracts sized for small- and small disadvantaged-owned businesses. The businesses welcomed the consortium's proactive stance.

In 2015, the Eagle P3 Commuter Rail Project qualified for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Star Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). RTD's commuter rail maintenance facility also earned a LEED® Gold Certification in 2015.

Using the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain model, DTP has successfully operated the University of Colorado A Line and B Line since 2016 with an on-time performance rating of more than 97 percent. The University of Colorado A Line recently celebrated 1,000 days of service and doubled its capacity on the line as ridership continues to grow.

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Conclusion

The Eagle P3 project is the nation's first public-private partnership for commuter rail. The 23-mile rail line will provide a vital transportation link for adjacent employment, neighborhoods and new development.

The University of Colorado A Line of the Denver Eagle P3 Commuter Rail opened to the general public on April 22, 2016. The B Line opened in July 2016. ​The project completed construction in April 2019 with the opening of the G Line.