ACS, InfraRed team awarded Texas road project

TxDOT has selected a consortium led by ACS Infrastructure and InfraRed Capital to deliver the $800m SH 288 toll road project.

The Texas Transportation Commission has named Blueridge Transportation Group (BTG) preferred bidder for the development, design, building, financing and maintenance of a 10.3-mile segment of State Highway 288 (SH 288), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said in a statement.

The project, estimated to cost $800 million, involves the construction and maintenance of four tolled lanes from US 59 to the Harris County line; eight direct connectors at Beltway 8; as well as the maintenance and operation of the general purpose lanes and associated facilities along the 10.3-mile section of the state highway.

The 52-year concession is performance based a spokesperson for TxDOT told Infrastructure Investor. “The private sector is responsible to obtain all but approximately $17 million allocated to the Texas Medical Center Direct Connectors and a small amount of contingency as noted during the Commission meeting,” Danny Perez said in an e-mailed response regarding the project’s financing, which may include equity from the private sector as well as various types of loans. The transaction is expected to reach financial close in November.

The winning consortium comprises Spain’s ACS Infrastructure Development; UK-based InfraRed Capital Partners; and Shikun &Binui, an Israeli infrastructure and real estate group.

According to BTG’s website, InfraRed Capital Partners is funding its portion of the investment through InfraRed Infrastructure Fund III.The London-based firm closed on its third fund in October 2011 on $1.2 billion, raising $200 million more than its original target, according to Infrastructure Investor’s Research & Analytics.

Design and construction is expected to start in late 2015 with an estimated completion in early 2019, TxDOT said in its statement. “This option provides much-needed improvements years before conventional methods could be implemented,” the state agency said.

It is also the first time that a private contractor will be managing a full project in Houston.