Texas’ Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has kicked off procurement of a 37-mile stretch of toll road in Houston that forms part of State Highway 99, also known as the Grand Parkway project. The expansion, a potential public-private partnership (PPP), is one of nearly a dozen of state-approved PPPs in Texas.
TxDOT has issued a Request for Qualifications to parties that can design, build and possibly finance, operate and maintain the roadway. Responses are due by January 18, 2012.
The agency issued a Request for information for the proposed PPP in June, prompting responses from 23 groups including Macquarie, Balfour Beatty Capital, ACS, China Construction America, Vinci, Kiewit, Hochtief and a group comprised of Spanish toll road developer Cintra and fund manager Meridiam.
“A dual-model procurement will provide TxDOT and local stakeholders with greater flexibility to ultimately select the approach that brings the best value to the region and state,” noted Ned Holmes, transportation commissioner, in a statement. “It also provides increased opportunity for local firms to compete in the procurement process using the model under which they are most competitive.”
The entire Grand Parkway project extends to some 184 miles, portions of which are already built. The added highway is being developed as an outer loop that is intended to relieve some of the traffic bottleneck in the area. TxDOT expects the project to be completed by 2015.
“Traffic congestion is a real concern in the Houston area and construction of the Grand Parkway will help to alleviate congestion on the region’s other loops and highways such as US 290, I-10 and I-45,” according to David Gornet, Grand Parkway Association executive director. “Our goal is to ensure that a two-lane roadway, at a minimum, is completed as soon as possible for the entire 184 miles.”