Cost Effective Program Management Strategies For the T-REX Project in Denver

This paper describes how the Transportation Expansion (T-REX) project in Denver is a multi-modal, Light Rail Transit (LRT) and highway expansion project. The LRT part of the project consists of 19 miles of double-track, fully grade-separated alignment (including a new grade-separated LRT junction), 13 stations including an extensive art program, a 125,000 square feet maintenance facility, a new control center and communications system and 34 new Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs). The highway part consists of reconstruction and widening, operational and safety improvements and Intelligent Transportation Systems on both the highway and LRT. RTD will over double the size of its existing 16-mile system. The total project cost is $1.7 billion. The LRT component cost is $879 million or $46 million per mile, which compares very favorably especially considering the grade-separated nature of the T-REX project. The budget is the same as that presented to voters in a 1999 bond election. Cost and budget management are extremely critical elements of the T-REX program management. The voter mandated expenditures could not be exceeded. In addition, the implications of cost overruns to the agencies in a mega-project such as this would have been significant. In certain years, RTD’s spending on the TREX project constituted up to 43% of the total district’s expenditures. This paper reviews the program management strategies and lessons learned used to achieve this cost effective system and to keep the project within budget. Among the strategies discussed are: (1) cost-effective design standards; (2) joint project development and management with RTD and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT); (3) contracting strategies including design build; (4) project-based organization and control of resources; (5) partnering; (6) level of owner control; (7) third party interfaces and (8) focus on long term operational requirements. These strategies have enabled RTD and CDOT to effectively manage the project budget despite beginning final design and construction with a contingency of only 2%. The project remains within budget and is on schedule to open at the end of 2006.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 7p
  • Monograph Title: Rail Transit Conference Proceedings, 2005

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01002133
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 1931594155
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 14 2005 3:51PM