Illinois issues RFI for I-55 toll road

The Illinois Department of Transportation has issued an RFI seeking feedback from the private sector as it considers using a P3 model to procure the I-55 managed lanes project in Chicago.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) inviting the private sector to provide feedback regarding “the innovative procurement and delivery” of a 25-mile managed lane project serving the city of Chicago.

IDOT is considering procuring the I-55 managed lane project under various structures, including the design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) model. The state agency said it was also considering other project delivery methods, but did not provide more details.

As for the project itself, IDOT said the preferred alternative entails building two express toll lanes in each direction within the existing I-55 median, while the existing three general purpose lanes in each direction will remain free of charge.

“The scope of work for the preferred alternative would also include pavement and structure widening, bridge reconstruction, drainage improvements and noise walls,” according to the RFI.

The deadline for responding to the RFI is 8 September and will be followed by an industry forum IDOT has scheduled for 20 September. The agency will also hold one-on-one meetings with interested parties on 20 and 21 September.

A preliminary engineering and environmental (Phase 1) study for the project has already been conducted, leading to a finding of “no significant impact” on the area extending from I-355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) in the south-western Chicago metropolitan area to I-90/94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) servicing the Chicago business district. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) confirmed the result after conducting its own independent evaluation of the study and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact on 20 July.

Under Illinois’ P3 legislation, the state general assembly must adopt a joint resolution before a project can be procured as a P3. Both the House and Senate have issued their respective resolutions, but they have not yet been adopted.

Once the joint resolutions are adopted, IDOT expects to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and shortlist qualified respondents within eight to 10 weeks after issuing the RFQ. IDOT is currently targeting award and initial notice to proceed in the first half of 2018.