MTA board approves CDM Smith for final design of the Amp

The Nashville MTA board of directors approved CDM Smith as the firm to provide engineering services for the final design phase of Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, The Amp, which will connect East and West Nashville through downtown.

Global firm CDM Smith has national expertise in designing transit systems and has been a leader in the field of Bus Rapid Transit for more than four decades. Six of CDM Smith’s clients received federal funding in 2013 that is similar to what Nashville is seeking.

Other BRT projects CDM Smith has worked with include: Silver Line BRT in Grand Rapids, Mich.; ‘Jazz’ Bus Rapid Transit (Monterey-Salinas BRT) in Monterey, Calif.; 5600 West BRT Program in Salt Lake City, Utah; and Stevens Creek BRT corridor planning and design in San Jose, Calif.

“The Amp is a smart transit investment for Nashville, and I am pleased that CDM Smith will help guide us through the final design,” Nashville MTA Board Chair Jeff Yarbro said. “This company has extensive experience in projects such as this that work for all users, from transit riders to drivers to pedestrians. The project team also includes a number of well-respected local firms with experience on The Amp to work directly with the bus rapid transit experts at CDM Smith.”

Steve Goodreau, the project manager for final design of The Amp, was the deputy project manager for the preliminary and final design of the Cleveland Healthline BRT, a $200 million, 10-mile transit project that is seen as the best BRT system in the country. Local firms include: RPM Transportation Consultants, Tuck-Hinton Architects and Hodgson Douglas.

An evaluation committee that included representatives from the Nashville MTA, Metro Public Works, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Metro Planning Organization, Mayor’s Office and the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee evaluated five proposals in a two-step process.

“This is an exciting next step for the Nashville MTA and the community,” Nashville MTA CEO Paul J. Ballard said. “We are committed to building the city’s first BRT that will be one of the best in the nation.”

The Amp will be Nashville’s first full-service BRT system with dedicated transit lanes. The 7.1-mile route will stretch from Five Points in East Nashville to St. Thomas West Hospital. It will function much like light rail or a subway with off-board ticketing, real-time travel information, and sleek rapid transit vehicles with double doors that open at level with station platforms to allow multiple passengers to board at once.

In East Nashville, the Amp station will be near East Nashville Magnet School on 10th Street. Amp vehicles will travel on Main Street to Woodland Street, stop at the LP Field station near the existing Park & Ride, go over the Woodland Street Bridge to 5th Avenue North next to the Music City Central downtown transit station, travel down 5th Avenue North to Church Street, and on to Broadway/West End making stops at stations near the Frist Center, The Gulch, Vanderbilt University, Centennial Park, Acklen Park, Elmington Park, Cherokee Park, and St. Thomas West Hospital.

Last month, the Nashville MTA submitted a formal request to the Federal Transit Administration for up to $75 million in federal transit funds through FTA’s Small Starts program. FTA accepted The Amp into project development earlier this year.