More than a dozen firms are interested in designing and building the proposed light-rail extension from Norfolk to Town Center in Virginia Beach , according to documents released by the city of Virginia Beach. While the 3-mile project has not been officially approved, the city is keeping to its timeline, which includes soliciting interested design and build companies. The city asked for letters of interest in mid-October and got 13 responses by the time the window closed on Nov. 13. Five letters of interest were from a group of companies:

* Herzog, Branscome, CH2M, Clark Nexsen
* Skanska , Balfour Beatty , AECOM
* Kiewit , E.V. Williams , McLean , HDR, Mass Electric Construction Company
* Lane, VHB, Burns Engineering, L.K. Comstock National Transit, RailWorks Track Systems
* Parsons Construction Group, Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.
Three were from potential teams:
* Sacyr Construction USA , Orders Construction Company
* Dragados USA
Five others said they want more information on certain parts of the project:
* ARUP, project and construction management
* Infrastructure and Industrial Constructors Southeast, heavy construction
* Spann and Associates , civil engineering and construction
* GET Solutions Inc. , geotechnical engineering
* Inner Circle Concepts, architecture
Five letters of interest were from a group of companies:
The city will ask the firms to show their qualifications starting Jan. 31 . Companies that qualify will be asked to submit a proposal for work in December 2016 , if the city decides to pursue the project.
By July 2017 , funding would be allocated and a contract awarded, according to city documents. The light-rail line would be delivered by July 2019 .
“The City is seeking Design-Builders that are committed to quality, have proven experience in light rail design and construction, will bring innovative design-build approaches to ensure timely completion, and are willing to partner with the City for the mutual success of the project,” the letter to interested companies stated.
Design-build projects use a single entity for design and construction services. Norfolk’s light-rail project used a design-bid-build process, said Philip Shucet , who oversaw the project as head of Hampton Roads Transit.
Parsons Brinckerhoff and URS did most of the design work, then the design plans were put out for bid, he said. Contractors submitted bids based on the design. The 7.4-mile Norfolk line, which cost about $318 million to build, faced cost overruns and delays.
More than 10 construction companies worked on the project, but Skanska did most of the track, and Truland, now out of business, did the overhead electrical system. W.M. Schlosser built the stations and storage and maintenance garage. The trains were built by Siemens.
HRT is set to release its results from a recent request for proposals for the Virginia Beach project train cars in January.
Editor’s note: This originally ran in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, VA and then was picked up by ENR MidAtlantic Insider online magazine