Maryland’s $9bn highway project attracts industry attention

An RFI for highway widening schemes on I-495 and I-270, worth a combined $7.6bn, received 27 responses.

A $7.6 billion public-private partnership adding lanes to two Maryland highways drew wide industry interest, with 27 firms responding to a request for information released in September.

The project, the largest PPP in the US, will add four lanes on I-495 and I-270 in the state. It is part of a $9 billion plan announced in September that also includes a widening of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

“This level of interest indicates that industry is meeting our demand signal for transformative and innovative ideas to address the congestion issue in Maryland with a solution that works for the customers we serve every day and the communities the new solutions will serve,” said Greg Slater, administrator for the state’s highway administration.

The proposal seeks a private developer to build and operate two express toll lanes in each direction on I-495, also known as the Capital Beltway, between the American Legion Bridge and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. On I-270, the express lanes will run from I-495 to I-70.

Interested bidders for the project included Macquarie Capital, Meridiam, Plenary and InfraRed Capital (see below for the full list of respondents). Firms will have further opportunity to respond later in the process, Maryland’s transportation department noted.

The third component of the state’s traffic relief plan is the addition of express lanes on the B-W Parkway. That portion of the project would require the federal government to hand over control of the highway, as it is now controlled by the US Department of the Interior.