Highway authority launches $200m Denver toll road concession

Expressions of interest are now being sought by the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority to design, build, finance and operate an initial 10-mile stretch of a toll road that will help complete the unfinished beltway around the city.

A newly formed public highway authority in Denver, Colorado has issued a request for expressions of interest for a concession of the planned Jefferson Parkway in the city’s northwest metro area.

The project involves designing, building, financing and operating an initial 10-mile stretch of the parkway between state highways 128 and 93. The total length of the parkway is 13.1 miles and is estimated to cost $479 million in 2006 dollars, according to cost estimates published on the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority’s (JPPHA) website. The parkway will be a tolled road.

More recent estimates by the JPPHA place the cost of phase I of the project between $180 million to $200 million.

The authority was formed in May 2008 by three local governments in Denver’s northwest metro area to complete the un-built portion of the Denver metropolitan beltway. A 20-mile gap exists between the beltway’s Northwest Parkway in the north and the C-470 in the south.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) had spend about 5 years and $14 million analyzing alternatives for completing the beltway but officially dropped the project on 2 June 2008 due to lack of funds and inability to reach consensus.

An environmental study commissioned by CDOT estimated that the total cost for its recommended alternative for completing the 20-mile gap was $922 million in 2005 dollars. The gap comprises a 4.9 mile portion south of the Jefferson Parkway, the 13.1 mile Jefferson Parkway and a 2.1 mile section north of the parkway under the jurisdiction of the Northwest Parkway Public Authority.

The Northwest Parkway is operated by Portuguese toll road operator Brisa under a 99-year concession that was awarded in 2007.

Construction and engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff and engineering consultancy Stantec are advising the JPPHA.

Denver's beltway: under completion.
Source: JPPHA