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Four OK to bid on Georgia road project

A four-team shortlist has been cleared to bid for the Northwest Corridor Project. The Georgia Department of Transportation said the eventual winner would design, build and help finance the road.

Four consortia can now vie for the ‘Northwest Corridor (NWC) project’ in Atlanta, after the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Thursday revealed its bidder shortlist – as well as a protracted procurement process.

The department published a “draft” request for proposals (RFP) yesterday and will seek to meet “one-on-one” with each team in the fall, GDOT said, before issuing a “final, binding RFP” in December. The definitive RFP will be due in June and in July GDOT will select a “best value” private partner.

A spokesman said GDOT wanted to “have plenty of time” to engage each team. He added the department did not intend to eliminate consortia between the draft RFP and the final RFP.

NWC is touted as a design, build and finance (DBF) project, with GDOT holding the eventual private partner responsible for funding between 10 percent and 20 percent of its expected $750 million-to-$850 million cost, according to the department.

The four consortia selected to respond to the draft RFP are:

– C.W. Matthews Contracting Company, a family-owned commercial asphalt, road and bridge construction business in Marietta, Georgia, and engineering consultant Michael Baker Corporation;

– Design-build specialist Fluor-Lane;

– Georgia Transportation Partners, a consortium teaming Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation, Kiewit Infrastructure South Company, engineering firm Dewberry and Davis and STV Incorporated;

-Northwest Express Road Builders, comprised of Archer Western Contractors, The Hubbard Group and Parsons Corporation.

GDOT chose each team after a request for qualifications (RFQ) campaign concluded in July. Northwest Corridor Mobility Partners, teaming Ferrovial Agroman and Prince Consulting also responded to the RFQ, issued in June, but were not chosen to partake in the RFP.

NWC, a 30-mile managed lanes project along Interstate 75 (I-75) in Atlanta, is successor to ‘West by Northwest’ (WxNW), a closely watched toll road mandate felled in 2011 after Nathan Deal became Atlanta governor and Van Smith resigned as GDOT commissioner.

Deal, in explaining his decision to cancel WxNW, which by September 2011 had issued a RFP, said he opposed the projected 60-year length of the concession agreement.

Smith, a former state representative who, as GDOT head, championed privatisation, left amid criticism that the department was understaffed.

In May, GDOT announced NWC, which Deal termed a “better way forward,” would replace WxNW as a solution to relieve traffic congestion on I-75. But the industry has cited NWC as a less incentivised mandate because of its absence of a tolling agreement.

Construction on the Northwest Corridor project is slated to start in 2014. NWC is scheduled to open to traffic in 2018.