Major construction contract marks milestone in King County Metro’s battery-electric bus efforts

Nov. 24, 2021
The design-build contract for the electrification infrastructure needed to charge and operate the agency’s buses was awarded to the Walsh-Stantec Progressive Design-Build Team.

King County Metro has awarded a $40-million contract to Walsh-Stantec Progressive Design-Build Team to design and build the electrification infrastructure needed to charge and operate up to 120 battery-electric buses.

The Interim Base Electrification Project is estimated to cost a total of $67 million and is located just south of King County Metro’s current South Base facility in Tukwila, Wash. King County Metro recently built prefabricated buildings on its 543,900-square-foot site with the intent of operating up to 120 battery-electric buses to serve riders in South King County.

“We look forward to working with the contractor team to deliver this important project and make progress on our region’s climate goals,” said King County Metro Capital Division Director Diane Carlson.

Walsh-Stantec Progressive Design-Build Team was selected based on its combined score for its bid and proposal to achieve project goals. Design work is scheduled from December 2021 through May 2023, and construction is scheduled to start in 2022 and be completed in 2025.

The contractor is required to meet a minimum Small Business Enterprise goal of 13 percent; however the contractor team already has committed to a 30 percent goal and has engaged several SBE firms, including Rolluda Architects, LPD Engineering (civil) and Lund-Opsahl (structural).

“We’re excited to work with The Walsh Group to help King County Metro with this large deployment of zero-emission buses in the Pacific Northwest,” said Mark Peckover, Stantec principal and project design manager. “The transition to zero-emission buses is the future of transit, and Metro is moving forward with a large and important first step. The progressive design-build method allows our team to take a holistic view of the base and how best to continue the transition.”

“The Walsh Group is proud to lead the construction of this design-build project that will deliver an impactful mode of clean, sustainable transportation for our fellow King County residents,” said Doug Benjamin, Program Manager at The Walsh Group. “We have a steadfast commitment to sustainability

across our jobsites, and we are excited to join Stantec and King County Metro, two great partners that share the same commitment as well.”

Progress toward a zero-emission fleet

King County has targeted 2035 to have battery-electric buses operating from all of its bases and King County Metro continues to move forward with planning and budgeting to accomplish that goal. The mid-biennial budget proposal includes $65.8 million in additional appropriation this biennium to accelerate electrification—including investments in charging infrastructure at bus bases, an Access paratransit vehicle electrification pilot and preliminary planning for the electrification of Water Taxi vessels.

King County Metro already has received the first three of 40 New Flyer battery-electric buses and is in the process of building its initial charging project in its South Base yard capable of charging up to 40 buses. Additionally, 11 Proterra battery-electric buses operate in Bellevue and are charged at Eastgate Park and Ride and at Metro’s East Base. Future rounds of battery-electric bus purchases are planned in coming years.