The $6bn Frederick Douglass Tunnel project in Maryland, US will be overseen by a joint venture of AECOM and Jacobs after US rail company Amtrak signed its first Delivery Partner contract with the infrastructure business. 

The contract means that the “ADVANCE” joint venture will establish an integrated programme management team alongside Amtrak’s in-house team to oversee the design, construction management, and contract management for the project. 

Laura Mason, Amtrak’s executive vice president of capital delivery, said: “We’re proud to award this important Delivery Partner contract that will help continue the positive momentum for the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program. 

“Amtrak has built an industry-leading Capital Delivery department and continues to leverage innovative project delivery approaches like this, as we work to replace and modernize our critical infrastructure assets.” 

While the major construction work on the tunnel is yet to begin, initial preparations and demolitions have already begun on some parts of the project and Amtrak has awarded two of the three biggest construction contracts for the project. 

In February, Amtrak selected a joint venture of Kiewit and J.F. Shea for the construction of the two single track tunnel tubes, following its selection of Clark Construction and Stacy & Witbeck for work on the Southern Approach section of the tunnel and the new West Baltimore MARC station in September 2023. 

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The new tunnel is expected to be completed in 2035 and will replace the 150-year-old, 1.4 mile long B&P tunnel with a safer, faster alternative for Amtrak and MARC passenger trains in the Baltimore area. 

Alongside AECOM and Jacobs, the ADVANCE team will also include a consortium of other companies including Sener, Turner & Townsend, RailPros, Aldea, Dr Sauer, and 22 disadvantaged and small business enterprises. 

Luigi Rosa, Amtrak assistant vice president and programme leader, said: “We’re excited to welcome the ADVANCE team onboard and appreciate the vast experience they’ll bring to our integrated project management team.” 

In November, the project was bolstered by a $4.7bn grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.