Colorado in commercial close for $2.2bn I-70 concession

Colorado’s Interstate 70 reached commercial close this week with a consortium made up of Meridiam and Kiewit Infrastructure after two boards for the state’s transportation department approved a PPP with a whole-life cost of at around $2.2 billion.

The Colorado Bridge Enterprise and the Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise have green lit a contract for Kiewit Meridiam Partners to build, finance, operate and maintain a 12-mile segment of I-70. The 34-year concession agreement will receive availability payments over a 30-year term following construction, according to CDOT documents.

The total project cost is estimated at $1.29 billion, of which KMP will contribute 47 percent upfront. CDOT will be responsible for $687 million of that total, with $319 million doled out once certain milestones have been achieved.

Once the project finishes construction in 2022, CDOT will pay the consortium $28.4 million a year, rising an annual 2 percent, in performance pay, for a total of $1.26 billion over 30 years. The authority will also pay KPM $7.1 million a year to cover operation and maintenance costs, totaling $317 million over 30 years.

Financial close is expected by 28 January 2018, following a competitive process that saw bids from three other consortia. CDOT, not KMP, will collect tolls from I-70.

The PPP will see KMP design, build, finance, operate and maintain the replacement of a 50-year-old I-70 East viaduct as well as expand a 12-mile segment of the highway by adding two managed lanes. The consortium will also reconstruct a portion of the road and build a landscape ‘cover’ above one segment of the reconstructed highway.

Kiewit Meridiam Partners also developed the Denver Union Station transit improvements, the I-225 rail line, the Pecos Street over I-70 bridge replacement, US 34 Big Thompson Canyon emergency repairs and the Transportation Expansion project.