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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A neat website by a urban planning masters student, that may be useful in costing estimates for your fantasy subway project in whatever North American city you live in. The per km numbers are based on Toronto's subway system, and are in Canadian Dollars (CDN).

http://www.drlnow.ca/costanalysis.html

The following is a list of projects that have been constructed or proposed in the last ten years. Due to a difference in labour laws and regulations in Europe, the data has been limited to recent North American construction, where although laws may differ slightly, no major variations occur.

Precedents


Costs per km of construction
 

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Journeyman
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Seattle has a couple subway sections not on your list, though the trains are light rail. One tunnel is completed a short way through a hill, and another underway now for three miles (the latter involves multiple contracts). I don't have costs. They're all by Sound Transit.

It's extremely hard to compare apples to apples. Even if you have parallel data for each contract, there are tons of variables...everything from soil conditions, to contracting methods where major elements are broken out, to how they're dealing with the ground level, to whether you're comparing the same types of cost in a parallel way (is design included? does the city charge sales tax? etc.).

I'm sure you're a smart guy and doing it the right way. But, as a construction guy, I've seen too much stupidity from "experts" such as college professors, comparing costs that they clearly don't understand.
 

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~ Mysterious Entity ~
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I would have expected the most expensive at-grade construction to cost no more than 50% of the cheapest tunnel construction. I'm surprised at how close the costs are for some of the at-grade and elevated systems compared to some tunneled systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I never knew the Red Line-Blue Line connector was that cheap. I guess Bostonians just like to whine.

Well, okay, perhaps "cheap" is a bit relative, considering that the T is up to its neck in debt.
I wouldn't call the Blue-Red line cheap at all, at $478 million per km. It's 2nd most expensive per km behind the 2nd Ave subway in NYC.

mhays said:
It's extremely hard to compare apples to apples. Even if you have parallel data for each contract, there are tons of variables...
Obviously one must consider project-specific factors. Montreal's subways are relatively cheap because their trains are narrow (2.5m wide) such that a single bored tunnel can fit 2 tracks. Vancouver's Canada line is half-tunneled, yet is cheaper than some at-grade systems, because we cut corners all over the place, use tiny stations (40m platforms) & short trains, and the project is partially financed and operated by the private sector. The 2nd Ave line is astronomically expensive because they're forced to do cut-and-cover... in MANHATTAN, plus I know the MTA is also a factor in the already high costs of construction.

The purpose of a comparison between precedents isn't necessarily a indictment of labour/material markets or mismanagement, but rather demonstrates that what works well in one city may not be cost-effective in another city. Perhaps other technologies may be a better allocation of funds.
 

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Silver Lake
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Does 20 km = 9 miles? Because that's how long the Purple Line extension is going to be. And I've heard figures of 4 billion or so. In LA they'll be drilling through methane gas pockets deep bore tunnels.
 

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Does 20 km = 9 miles? Because that's how long the Purple Line extension is going to be. And I've heard figures of 4 billion or so. In LA they'll be drilling through methane gas pockets deep bore tunnels.

20 KM is 12 miles, so they are calculating until Santa Monica i think. the extension approved is to westwood which is 9 miles and the cost is expected to be 5.2 billion if i recall correctly.
 

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20 KM is 12 miles, so they are calculating until Santa Monica i think. the extension approved is to westwood which is 9 miles and the cost is expected to be 5.2 billion if i recall correctly.
$5.2bn for a 9 mile railway seems overly expensive. Is there any reason for the inflated cost?
 

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$5.2bn for a 9 mile railway seems overly expensive. Is there any reason for the inflated cost?
Well, there are methane gas pockets, tar pits, earthquake faults and archeological digs that need to be done all on this line. Add in inflated American labor costs, Los Angeles land acquisition costs and boom, there you go.
 
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