The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) in the US has awarded a $198.5m contract to primary contractor Archer Western Construction to renovate and upgrade its tunnel ventilation system (TVS).

Scheduled to be initiated early next year, the improvement project further advances MARTA’s ongoing commitment to provide safe and efficient transit operations.

Under this project, Cleveland Electric, RF Knox, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff and eight disadvantaged business enterprises (seven of which are local) will serve as subcontractors to Archer Western Construction.

MARTA noted that the six-year base contract totals $165m with an additional $33.5m in options that include an extended warranty, hardware refresh, and provisions for long-term system operations and maintenance.

"In the transit industry, this is the largest single contract focused on this type of enhancement."

The project will cover about nine miles of subway tunnel and underground rail stations, approximately 20% of the rail system’s total footprint.

The ventilation system includes a network of fans and dampers that control and direct air flow during normal rail operations and in emergencies.

MARTA capital programmes and development interim assistant general manager David Springstead said: "MARTA is ahead of the curve for dedicating a significant portion of its capital improvement budget to upgrading our tunnel ventilation system.

"In the transit industry, this is the largest single contract focused on this type of enhancement."

Archer is a member of the Walsh Group, a family-owned company providing design, build, finance, and operation services with operations across 19 regional offices.

Southeast Transportation Group vice-president Steve Hausler said: "Archer Western has been working with MARTA nearly 30 years constructing major infrastructure projects to improve the MARTA system.

"We look forward to our continued partnership with MARTA in completing this critical upgrade to their tunnel ventilation system."

Image: A MARTA rapid transit train and the Atlanta, Georgia skyline. Photo: courtesy of Biomedeng via Wikipedia.