Mid-Coast Transit Constructors Wins NRC 2021 Large Project of the Year

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) has awarded the Mid-Coast Transit Constructors (MTCT) – a joint venture of Stacy and Witbeck, Herzog and Skanska – with the 2021 Large Project of the Year award for its work on the Mid-Coast Corridors Project, a $1.4billion, 11-mile extension of SANGAG’s (San Diego’s Association of Governments) Blue Line.

The six-year SANDAG project extends the Blue Line through the University of California San Diego campus to La Jolla. The site terrain and elated congestion made the project particularly challenging and complex. Seven miles of the project are within the Los Angeles-San Diego (LOSSAN) corridor, one of the nation’s busiest rail corridors, running nearly 60 BNSF, Amtrak and No. County Transit District (NCTD) COASTER trains daily. The northern four miles of the project is elevated and crosses Interstate 5 (I-5) twice.

The scope of work included the following components:

  • Double-tracking five miles of the existing line to improve efficiency and accommodate the new light rail alignment,
  • Constructing a total of 25 track-miles of ballast track, seven track-miles of direct fixation track, and track on 21heavy rail, light rail, and roadway bridges,
  • Installing nine major aerial and at-grade stations,
  • Constructing a parking garage,
  • Installing an arched roadway bridge over I-5,
  • Excavating 1,450,000 cubic yards of earth work and installing 500,000 square feet of retaining walls,
  • Performing work related to utilities, channel reconstruction, highway widening, roadwork, a two-mile bike pathway, and systems.
 The joint venture thoroughly planned work and employed innovative approaches before and throughout the six-year project to address planning and construction challenges. They delivered the project under budget, ahead of schedule and with an exemplary safety record that was well below industry average.

“The MCTC team exceeded our expectations for partnership, collaboration, performance, schedule achievement, and issue resolution,” attest Jacobs Engineering Construction Manager Jim Starling. “The team managed the project cost and schedule and were able to deliver the project on time and within SANDAG’s budget, with no claims or disputes. … it has been a pleasure to work with the MCTC team for the past six years … (the project) has made a positive impact on the community and has improved the region’s transportation system dramatically.”

The joint venture leveraged their expertise during preconstruction when it determined it was imperative to relocate an existing control point in the LOSSAN corridor, even though it was not in the project scope. After several planning and presentation sessions (and before they even had a construction contract), the joint venture convinced SANDAG that relocating the control point early would allow flexibility to switch train traffic through the corridor to provide sufficient space to build the project. The relocation work was completed safely and on time and opened the door for the rest of the work in the corridor.

The team’s efforts to thoroughly plan work contributed to successfully completing another key milestone: the complex work under the SR-52/ I-5 interchange to build what was referred to as Shoofly 2. This work involved completing a complicated progression of logically tied steps that methodically opened up a very narrow corridor under the interchange that evolved from a single track, a small channel, and a bike path to four tracks plus a maintenance track, a large channel, and a bike path. While this work progressed, crews were relocating utilities and building the flyover foundations, columns, and caps in phases as governed by Shoofly 2.

 Numerous funding sources involved indifferent elements of the project presented a major cost-control challenge. Federal, state, and local funds were used, and each had different reporting requirements. Adding to the complexity was the fact that the Mid-Coast Corridor project was actually eight separate projects delivered under one program. The management team held weekly production meetings and monthly cost meetings to review labor production, costs against the budget, and schedule achievements. The joint venture saved SANDAG more than $85 million and many months off the schedule through its preconstruction value engineering efforts. Benefits accrued during construction as the joint venture continued to come up with innovative ideas to reduce cost, schedule, and risk.

Jacobs Engineering and Kleinfelder served as the construction management firm and WSP, HDR and Kleinfelder Wong were the lead engineer. They contributed to the successful completion of the project along with the following subcontractors and suppliers:

Subcontractors:

  • Modern Railway Systems
  • McCarthy Building Companies
  • Lucas Builders
  • SRK Engineering

Suppliers

  • Oldcastle Infrastructure
  • L.B. Foster
  • Nortrak
  • Robertson’s Ready-Mix

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