The GMF was built in 2002 and designed as a satellite facility to store and maintain 34 buses with a small footprint. However, ridership has grown by 60 percent since 2002, and today RFTA operates approximately 44 buses from the facility daily (exceeding the current capacity by nearly 30 percent). Ridership is expected to increase an additional 25 percent over the next 20 years. Additionally, buses are parked outside during the winter months — where they must be idled to ensure their safety and comfort in cold temperatures — burning more fuel and increasing wear and tear. With the introduction of battery electric buses to the RFTA fleet, a climate-controlled environment is required to maintain efficiency.
This $42-million project includes indoor heated bus storage, a second-level operations facility (including a dispatch suite, reception space for visitors, a drivers room, office spaces, and locker rooms), along with necessary site improvements, including grading, drainage, utilities, landscaping, and employee parking. Future phases will include expanding indoor heated bus storage to 60 buses, new site retaining walls, four battery electric bus chargers, and a fuel and wash lane expansion. The facility is being designed to accommodate future hydrogen vehicles.
“In partnership with Saunders Construction and RFTA, we are incredibly excited to help deliver the GMF expansion project,” said Merlin Maley, Stantec Project Principal. “The project is critical to ensuring RFTA is able to continue safely and reliably meeting the transit needs of the three counties it serves, while creating greater connectivity, reducing fossil fuel emissions, and increasing RFTA’s operational efficiencies.”
“Saunders Construction is proud to partner with RFTA on the new GMF project. As a Colorado company, we are excited to be a part of this project, which will greatly improve the reliability and efficiency of RFTA’s operations,” said Tom Alford, Senior Vice President at Saunders Construction. “Working as a design-build team with Stantec, we’ve been able to provide RFTA and the GMF expansion project with exceptional design solutions, backed by Stantec’s tremendous expertise in bus transit.”
Saunders Construction holds the prime contract as the design-build contractor, with Stantec leading the design of the project. As designer, Stantec is providing architecture; interior design; lighting design; and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services on the project. Stantec is partnered with SGM, Inc. for civil, survey, and structural services. Bluegreen is providing landscape architecture services and leading the project entitlement process.
The project is expected to break ground in June 2022, with an estimated completion date of early 2024.