Legal wrangle over, shortlist out for Alaska bridge

Consortia led by Infrared Capital Partners, Meridiam and ACS have been shortlisted for the $715m Knik Arm Bridge. The project is being hailed as a job creator and an innovative public-private partnership.

A week after ending a legal dispute, a shortlist for a major bridge project in Anchorage, Alaska, has been published.

Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) announced a three-consortia shortlist for its high-profile Knik Arm Crossing Project. The shortlisted teams – led by Infrared Capital Partners, Meridiam and ACS – will vie to win the public-private partnership (PPP) once KABATA has issued a formal request for proposals, planned for 2012.

The process is “very competitive from here on out,” remarked Michael Foster, KABATA board chairman. 

The Knik Arm Crossing will give Anchorage a second route to Matanuska-Susitina Borough, a “fast-growing” region. The PPP is being hailed for its job-creation potential, including permanent employment. Construction is expected to start in 2013.

The announcement of a shortlist for Knik Arm Crossing followed a decision by the city of Anchorage last Friday to drop its lawsuit against the project. The Port of Anchorage had been concerned the development of the bridge would stymie its day-to-day business, causing “irreparable harm” to the port.

KABATA said Anchorage withdrew its suit amid a promise by KABATA to adjust its planned location of the bridge. The Knik Arm Crossing and the port are both located in a “narrow corridor,” KABATA acknowledged.

The $715 million Knik Arm Crossing is a highly coveted 2.7-mile toll road PPP with a 35-year concession and an availability payment structure. Availability payments are public contributions paid in exchange for making assets available in good condition. KABATA had before tried to launch a tender offer for Knik Arm Crossing in 2006, but had been rebuffed because of environmental sensitivity. 

The full shortlist includes:

– Alaska Infrastructure Access Partners, a team of Infrared Capital Partners, Bouygues, Colaska, QAP Weeks Marine, URS Alaska Moffatt & Nichol, USKH, R&M Consultants and  Macquarie Capital. 

– Cook Inlet Passage Partners, a consortium of Meridiam, Kiewit, Manson Construction Company, VMS, Transfield Services North America, Transportation Infrastructure, Parsons Transportation Group, Golder Associates, Dowl HKM Dan Brown and Associates, BMT Fleet Technologies and KPMG Corporate Finance.

– North Star Mobility Group,  a partnership between Hochtief, ACS, Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras, Flatiron Constructors, Dragados, HNTB Corporation, CH2M Hill Engineers, Alaska Interstate Construction, Arcadis, Kodiak Map, Hart Crowser Earth Mechanics, Bitttner-Shen, Denali Drilling and Gregg Drilling.