Timeline emerges for $300m Colorado road PPP

Colorado is going ahead with a plan that will make over US Route 36 into a significant managed lanes PPP. Adviser KPMG is credited with establishing a timeline for the bidding process.

A decade-old plan to recast a congested major road in Colorado into a managed lanes public-private partnership (PPP) now has a bid process in place.

US Route 36 is a 200-mile, east-west road spanning Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and on to Kansas. The PPP would cover a six-mile stretch of US 36 and is expected to cost $300 million, said a spokeswoman from the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise (HTPE), a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) initiative to explore financing for surface transportation infrastructure in Colorado.

HPTE adviser KPMG is planning to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) in mid-January, with a deadline to respond in mid-February. The spokeswoman said a shortlist should be drawn up by March, with a request for proposals (RFP) going out in June and offers due in August. A selection on a preferred bidder should be final by October, with a commercial and financial close set by year end.

“The corridor is very congested, currently operating at 90 percent volume capacity. There is a three-to-four hour period of bidirectional congestion daily,” the spokeswoman said.

She explained “phase one” of the project will encompass Federal Boulevard to Interlocken Boulevard and has been funded with a $54 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan. The second phase will extend to Foothills Parkway in Boulder, Colorado, with the spokeswoman adding that it was phase two that warranted a PPP solution. Tolling will be included in phase two.