Amtrak seeking Delivery Partner to support B&P Tunnel Replacement Program

Dec. 6, 2022
In a Delivery Partner model, the private partner takes on substantial risk-sharing, impacting overall project outcomes.

Amtrak will be seeking a Delivery Partner to support the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program to replace the nearly 150-year-old tunnel. In a Delivery Partner model, the private partner takes on substantial risk-sharing, impacting overall project outcomes. More than two dozen industry leaders responded to Amtrak’s recent Request for Information (RFI), which invited feedback on use of the Delivery Partner model.

“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 Tony Ryan, Amtrak’s vice president, program development and project services. “Timely advancement of this program is critical as we work to modernize and transform the Northeast Corridor, reducing delays and adding capacity for the future.”

Solicitation for the Delivery Partner is expected to launch in January 2023. 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 (RFP) 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 roadway work

This CMAR procurement represents the first major project procurement since Amtrak was awarded the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding. This 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. Collaboration on the design offers an opportunity for innovation and reduces the risk to Amtrak for substantial changes to the scope of work later.

In partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA), the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program will replace the existing B&P Tunnel with the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel, named for the Maryland native and renowned civil rights leader. 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 focused solely on passenger service.

Once complete, the new tunnel system will improve travel times for approximately nine million passengers each year who rely on the Northeast Corridor for service, including Amtrak Acela, Northeast Regional and long-distance trains, as well as the MARC Penn Line.

Future construction packages for the Program will be announced in 2023. This will include one tunnel package for the twin bore tunnel construction work, featuring two parallel tunnels, each containing a single rail track.