Meridiam partnership wins $1.2bn I-70 PPP

Financial close is expected later this year on Colorado’s second large-scale road PPP, backed by availability payments.

Meridiam and Kiewit Infrastructure group will finance and develop the Colorado Department of Transportation’s $1.2 billion Central 70 road public-private partnership.

Kiewit Meridiam Partners was chosen over three other consortiums in a procurement that began in 2014. The project will provide upgrades for parts of I-70, a roadway described as a “critical artery” for Colorado’s transportation network.

Central 70 is CDOT’s second PPP. The deal calls for KMP to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the replacement of a 50-year-old I-70 East viaduct and the expansion of 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.

The project has a four-year construction timeframe, expected to begin next spring. Once finished, KMP will have a 30-year operation and maintenance agreement and receive availability payments over the length of the concession. Financial close on the PPP is expected later this year or in early 2018.

“Projects like the Central 70 are extremely encouraging in the evolution of the US P3 market. Meridiam and our partners pride ourselves on being long-term local stewards,” Meridiam chief executive Thierry Deau said.

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.

The other teams to bid on Central 70 were a Plenary Group and Skanska partnership, ACS Infrastructure and John Laing, and Cintra Infraestructuras and Bechtel.