David Shepardson | Detroit News
Detroit’s $137 million, 3.3-mile M-1 Rail streetcar project along Woodward is seeking proposals from local contractors and suppliers as it aims to start construction this year.
M-1 Rail’s construction manager is Stacy and Witbeck Inc.
The light rail project is expected to generate hundreds of local jobs.
Stacy and Witbeck, the firm responsible for building the first modern streetcar in Portland, Ore., has launched a website, https://stacywitbeck.app.box.com/m1rail, where firms interested in working on the project can review 30 bid packages available.
More than 70 subcontracts are listed on a website for the project and another 15 bid packages will be posted to the site in the coming days. The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce plans to hold an M-1 Rail contractor forum later this month.
“The release of the bid packages is another important step forward for this project,” said Paul Childs, M-1 Rail chief operating officer.
“Our construction manager has indicated the streetcar project has generated significant interest from the local contractor and supplier community, so they’re expecting to receive a very strong response to their requests for proposal.”
Childs said M-1 expects to get 5,000 riders a day, about 1.8 million annually, when it starts service in 2016.
Annual operating costs are expected to be about $5 million.
Tom Gilman, project manager for Stacy and Witbeck, said since being hired in August the firm has been reaching out to Detroit contractors.
The firm hired a local business consultant, Ballard Associates, and has joined the Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association, the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Detroit Regional Chamber to engage the industry.
It has also sponsored three subcontractor open houses in Detroit and has built an online vendor databse, which has been visited more than 900 times and has more than 150 vendors registered.
“With our extensive outreach we were able to better familiarize ourselves with the capacity and capabilities of Detroit-based and other local firms in the area,” said Gilman.
“This information helped us develop bid packages that will allow large, medium and small companies to be competitive bidders on this project. …”
Last month, M-1 began utility relocation work along Woodward in Detroit. It began relocating a catch basin at the southwest corner of the median at Congress Street and Woodward.
M-1 is still deciding whether the transit system will get its power from overhead wires or be powered by batteries.
The system is in the process of identifying the streetcar vendor, and the choice will help determine what power source M-1 will use.
Doing the utility work now is expected to help speed construction once it starts later this year.
The project won $25 million last year in federal funding.
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Washington district planners are projecting as much as $8 billion in new investment within 10 years of the lines’ completion. Now, it's Detroit's turn.
Since 2013, M-1 RAIL has worked closely with the City of Detroit Special Events Office to coordinate with all events being planned for the Woodward Corridor.
Members of the M-1 RAIL team meet with event planning committees regularly to make sure special events and streetcar construction can coexist.
M-1 RAIL appreciates the important role special events play in offering residents and visitors the quality of life amenities they desire. This is why we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure streetcar construction and events can take place simultaneously in Detroit with minimal disruption and maximum enjoyment for all who live, work and play in the city.
--Paul Childs, Chief Operating Officer