Colorado amenable to I-70 PPP

The Colorado Department of Transportation has opened bidding for its Interstate 70 improvement project. An unsolicited bid from Parsons last year prompted the process.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is asking for input from the private sector in its undertaking to fix traffic problems on Interstate 70 (I-70) – a potentially major surface transportation project.

The department cited April 23 as the deadline to express interest in submitting a “co-development proposal to assist CDOT in providing a long-term solution to the congestion and mobility” in the “Mountain Corridor” section of I-70.

The department went on to indicate that the proposal should cover “helping CDOT to secure a public-private partnership (PPP) for financing, designing, building and operating” I-70 through a “long-term concession agreement”.

The PPP is likely to entail a managed lane or tolling system.

The selected bidder would draw up a detailed traffic and revenue analysis, provide a technical plan and formulate a financial blueprint, CDOT said.

The winning bidder would also need to obtain “Federal Environmental Clearance”. CDOT completed a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) in 2011.

The department said a request for proposal (RFP) for a “shortlisted co-developer” would be issued in the summer.

CDOT said an unsolicited proposal to revamp I-70 prompted the department to initiate a procurement process, as well as a potential PPP.

The unsolicited bidder, Parsons Corporation, a multi-billion-dollar grossing construction and engineering firm from Pasadena, California, approached the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) in July 2011 with a plan to improve the interstate highway.

HPTE is a division of CDOT dedicated to project financing for surface transportation.

CDOT has noted I-70 for its “huge” importance, and said improving the corridor is an urgent project for Colorado.

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has acknowledged I-70 as a US “engineering marvel”.

The 450-mile transcontinental route, stretching from Utah to Baltimore, was completed in 1992 and is famous for its scenic route through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. 

But as tourisim in the Rocky Mountain region has increased, I-70 has become increasingly susceptible to snarled traffic.