HOUSTON — The City of Austin has selected Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. (LAN) AECOM joint venture to provide preliminary engineering services for its anticipated urban rail project.

The new transit system, proposed in response to the city’s significant growth over the years and its resulting traffic congestion, will serve downtown and central Austin. The planned streetcar and light-rail hybrid will stretch from the Mueller development to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It will connect major employers such as the State of Texas, University of Texas and major hubs of activity such as the Texas State Capitol complex and Austin’s central business district.

LAN and AECOM will be responsible for developing preliminary engineering plans in accordance with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and state and local requirements. The plans allow for identification of right-of-way, environmental mitigation measures, staging plans for construction as well as a capital cost estimate. This information will be considered by the Austin City Council in advance of a proposed referendum in November 2010.

The exact route, length and number of stations are yet to be determined. An alternatives analysis study and environmental study are currently underway. The city council is expected to consider a locally preferred alternative in February 2010.

“Cities around the United States are struggling with ways to improve mobility in the midst of this economic recession,” said Patrick E. Jolly, P.E., vice president and transit business group leader for LAN. “We credit the city of Austin for moving forward with their initial planning efforts to provide mobility solutions while positioning themselves favorably for federal assistance. The work we conduct in partnership with the city of Austin will lay the groundwork for a vibrant future for this dynamic and progressive city.”

For more information about Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, please visit www.lan-inc.com.