Full speed ahead for largest project

A consortium led by John Laing and Skanska has reached financial close for the $2.32 billion I-4 Ultimate project in Florida.

The consortium, which is a 50-50 partnership between the UK infrastructure investment firm and Skanska, was selected as preferred respondent in April for the design, build, operate and finance contract for the public-private partnership (P3) highway project in Orlando, Florida.

Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of next year, and is scheduled to be completed in 2021, statements said.

The project is so far the largest greenfield P3 in the US and is Florida’s largest transportation project, according to Johan Karlström, chief executive officer and president of Skanska, adding that it is “the demonstration of how P3s can solve critical infrastructure needs”.

The project will aim to reduce congestion and provide additional capacity along a busy 21-mile section of Interstate 4 from West Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State road 434 in Seminole County, which also serves as a major tourist route across Orlando.

The consortium will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the new section over a 40-year concession term.

The I-4 project has been financed using equity, debt and a loan made available under the US Department of Transportation’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) programme.

It includes reconstructing 15 major interchanges, constructing more than 140 bridges, adding four variable-priced toll Express Lanes, and completely rebuilding the general use lanes. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will administer all-electronic tolling for the managed routes.

A construction joint venture between Skanska USA Civil Southeast Inc., Granite Construction Company and The Lane Construction Corporation has been formed to build the project, with Skanska owning a 40 percent stake.

The lead engineering firms are HDR Engineering and Jacobs Engineering Group. The lead operations and maintenance firm is Infrastructure Corporation of America.