Metro's Gold Line Bridge Completed On-Time and On-Budget

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (“Authority”) has announced the completion of the Iconic Freeway Structure Design-Build Project (“Iconic Freeway Structure”) on-time and on-budget. Awarded to Skanska USA in 2010, the project involved the design and construction of the Gold Line Bridge, a 584-linear foot sculptural bridge. 

The $18.6 million dual track bridge is the first element completed for Phase 2A of the 11.5-mile Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension (Foothill Extension) that will connect the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in the city of Pasadena and the future Arcadia Station. 

The Authority separated Phase 2A into three design-build contracts for the bridge, alignment and intermodal parking facilities elements. For the Iconic Freeway Structure Project, it was important that the Gold Line Bridge be the focus given its complexities, including the architectural and engineering features, and its location spanning two faults and being over a major freeway. Accelerated project construction was an added benefit.

For the remaining two contracts, in 2012, the Authority awarded a $486 million design-build contract for Phase 2A alignment to a Kiewit/Parsons joint venture. The  procurement process for the intermodal parking facilities contract is in progress with award scheduled for February.

Phase 2A is scheduled for completion in late 2015.

For further information, please visit the Gold Line Foothill Extension website.

Photo Source: Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

Ohio River Bridges - East End Crossing - Reaches Commercial Close

On December 27, 2012, the Indiana Finance Authority (“IFA”) achieved commercial close of the East End Crossing project in southern Indiana, part of the broader Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project.  WVB East End Partners, LLC (“WVB”), is the private counterparty for the East End Crossing project under an availability payment concession, a first for Walsh and VINCI in an equity role in the US P3 market.  The parties reached agreement and executed the public-private agreement before the end of the year as scheduled, capping an extraordinary procurement on an expedited pace, throughout which IFA met each and every interim schedule deadline, making IFA’s East End Crossing procurement among the fastest “P3” procurements in the United States.  Financial close is scheduled for the end of March, 2013. 

WVB East End Partners, LLC is a joint venture consortium of affiliates of Walsh Investors, LLC, VINCI Concessions S.A.S. and Bilfinger Berger PI International Holding GmbH.  WVB has contracted with the joint venture of Walsh Construction Company and VINCI Construction Grand Projets to design and build the project with Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. as the project’s lead designer.  Walsh Construction Company was also selected by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet as the apparent best value bidder for the $900 million Downtown Crossing, Kentucky’s part of the overall Ohio River Bridges Project. 

IFA issued its Request for Qualifications March 9, 2012 shortly after Indianapolis played host to the 2012 Super Bowl, and shortlisted four of six bidder teams on April 20.  All four shortlisted teams submitted conforming proposals on October 26, and WVB was preliminarily selected by IFA on November 16.  With today’s commercial close, IFA successfully conducted a procurement from shortlisting to contract execution in less than nine months.

Barney Allison co-authored this entry.

NYS Thruway Board Approves $3.1 Billion Design-Build Contract for Tappan Zee Bridge

On December 17, 2012, the Board of the New York State Thruway Authority (“NYSTA”) unanimously approved award of the design-build contract for the Tappan Zee bridge replacement project to Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (a consortium of Fluor Enterprises, Inc., American Bridge Company, Granite Construction Northeast, Inc., and Traylor Bros., Inc.).  New twin spans will replace the existing Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge, which is to be demolished and removed.  The contract award requires additional State approvals before it becomes effective.  Notice to proceed is expected to be issued in January 2013. 

Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC was one of three proposers that submitted responses to a request for proposals issued by NYSTA in March 2012, shortly after passage of landmark design-build legislation in New York in December 2011.  The other two proposers were headed by Bechtel Group, Inc. and Skanska AB. 

Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC provided the lowest price and fastest completion schedule for the replacement bridge.  The $3.14 billion price tag is well below initial forecasted estimates for the project, which ranged from $5 to $6 billion.  The unexpectedly low bid reduces the financial pressure on NYSTA by lowering the cost of financing the project (e.g., a lower bid allows for lower leverage and lower debt service).  The state has applied to the USDOT for TIFIA credit assistance for up to 49% of eligible project costs under the expanded MAP-21 TIFIA credit assistance program. 

The existing Tappan Zee Bridge, located about 20 miles north of Manhattan, is 56 years old and carries 138,000 vehicles each day between Westchester and Rockland counties, 40% more than its designers intended. 

The new bridge will roughly double the total width of the existing bridge, carrying eight lanes of traffic and adding a rush-hour bus lane, wide shoulders and a crossing for pedestrians and bicycles.  The bridge is required to be built “transit-ready” – that is, built with the capability of carrying a future mass-transit link across the Hudson River.  The project was granted expedited federal environmental approval by President Obama and US Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood in October of 2011. 

This project is notable for many reasons, including its status as the first design-build project undertaken by the New York State Thruway Authority and as the largest transportation design-build project to date in the United States.

A Tale of Two Bridges (A Tale of Bi-State Cooperation)

On November 16, 2012, the Indiana Finance Authority (“IFA”) selected WVB East End Partners (“WVB”) as the “Preferred Proposer” for IFA’s East End Crossing project in southern Indiana.  WVB East End Partners is a joint venture consortium of Walsh Investors, LLC, VINCI Concessions S.A.S. and Bilfinger Berger PI International Holding GmbH, partnering with Walsh Construction Company and VINCI Construction Grand Projets as the builders, with Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. as the designer, and with others.  VINCI Concessions S.A.S. will be performing the operations and maintenance of the East End Crossing for the thirty-five year term.

The East End Crossing is one component of a larger, bi-state project that has been in the planning and development stage for almost ten years.  The Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project (or “ORB”) spans the Ohio River in two places, and Indiana and its neighbor to the south, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, split the project in half.  Thus, the ORB is a tale of two bridges, each state responsible for one, but working cooperatively to achieve completion of both.

“One Project; Two Procurements”

On March 5, 2012, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear met and decided on a “one project, two procurements” strategy.  Indiana was to handle the East End Crossing (a bridge, tunnel and associate roadway project eight miles east of the present Kennedy Bridge between Louisville and Southern Indiana).  Kentucky was to handle the Downtown Crossing (refurbishment of the Kennedy Bridge, addition of a second span, and associated roadway improvements).  Each would share 50/50 in the gross toll revenues generated by the two projects; toll revenues would be collected by a single toll systems operator for each project. 

What followed the March 5 memorandum of understanding was an historic bi-state development agreement that fleshed out how this understanding would turn into the ORB.  The “bi-state” mapped out parallel, separately handled procurements of each state’s part of the ORB and the involvement of each state in the other’s procurement.  The bi-state agreement also established an approach to ownership of the right of way for each project so as to enable each state to allow its contractor to perform work in the other state.

Kentucky elected a conventional design-build contract procurement, with the Commonwealth handling the financing of its project.  Indiana pursued an innovative availability payment public-private partnership, leaving the financing to the winning proposer.  Each state was offered the right to review and approve the technical plans and specifications for the portion of each project to be built and operated in that state.

Eight short months later, Kentucky held a public bid opening, selecting Walsh Construction Company as its apparent best value bidder.  Less than twenty-four hours later, Indiana, through IFA and in very close coordination with the Indiana Department of Transportation (“INDOT”), announced WVB as its preferred proposer and anticipated counterparty in a public-private partnership.  Walsh Construction Company is part of WVB, and through two, separated and distinct procurements, will be involved in the entire ORB.

The “one project, two states” approach aligned both states in a collective effort to address a growing need for additional cross-river transportation in the greater Louisville-Southern Indiana region, which is presently hampered by significant traffic congestion on the existing Kennedy Bridge and within its interchange and connecting roadways.  And now, one major infrastructure project will be the product of two innovative solutions.

About the ORB

The ORB is a construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation project to address demand for remedying inadequate and inefficient cross-river mobility for existing, planned and expected population growth in downtown Louisville and Southern Indiana counties. 

When completed, the ORB will improve connecting roadways and provide two new toll bridges across the Ohio River.  Kentucky’s Downtown Crossing will deliver the new “Downtown Bridge” –  carrying I-65, upstream on the Ohio River from the existing Kennedy Bridge.  The East End Crossing builds a new bridge connecting I-265/KY 841 (the “Gene Snyder Freeway”) with S.R. 265 (the “Lee Hamilton Highway”) in Indiana.  The ORB also features several multi-modal improvements to increase transportation choices for area residents, including enhanced bus service and pedestrian and bicycle trails and pathways.

Indiana and Kentucky plan to see both bridges open as early as late Fall, 2016.

John Smolen co-authored this entry.

Indiana Selects Preferred Proposer For East End Crossing (Ohio River Bridges Project)

On November 16, 2012, the board of the Indiana Finance Authority (“IFA”), with Governor Daniels in attendance, based on the recommendation of Kendra York, IFA’s Public Finance Director, approved the preliminary selection of WVB East End Partners as the preferred proposer for the East End Crossing project, Indiana’s second foray into public-private partnerships as a solution to infrastructure planning for the State.  The East End Crossing is Indiana’s part of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project (the “ORB Project”).  WVB East End Partners is a joint venture consortium of Walsh Investors, LLC, VINCI Concessions S.A.S. and Bilfinger Berger PI International Holding GmbH.  The WVB East End Partners consortium proposes to contract with Walsh Construction Company and VINCI Construction Grand Projets as the builders, with Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. as the lead designer.  VINCI Concessions S.A.S. will be performing the operations and maintenance of the East End Crossing for the thirty-five year operating term.  Ms. York made the announcement at the historic Indiana Repertory Theater in downtown Indianapolis.  Governor Daniels applauded the efforts of the proposer teams, emphasizing the success of several recent Indiana infrastructure projects, benefits of this project to the citizens of the State of Indiana and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

In early March 2012, Governor Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the roles and responsibilities of each state in the “Ohio River Bridges Project,” of which the East End Crossing is one part.  A week later, IFA issued a request for qualifications to develop, build, finance, operate, and maintain the East End Crossing under an availability payment concession structure.  From release of the “RFQ” to the short-listing of four bidders, to submission of proposals by all four bidders, the procurement proceeded at a record pace of less than eight months.  Governor Daniels specifically cited the rapid pace, resulting in a preferred proposer who offered a bid both under budget and ahead of schedule, as a success for public procurements and public-private partnerships. 

The WVB consortium proposed maximum availability payments for the term of $32.9 million (2012 dollars) per year.  Their proposal offered a construction price of $764 million, with planned substantial completion of the project by Halloween, 2016 – almost nine months prior to the date that the Indiana Department of Transportation had specified.  IFA plans to execute the public-private (“P3”) agreement in mid-to-late December.  Financial closing for the consortium is anticipated in late March, 2013. 

Stay tuned for more about the success of this bi-state cooperative effort.

Port of Long Beach Awards Design-Build Contract for the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a $649.5 million dollar contract for the design and construction of a replacement for the Port of Long Beach’s obsolete and deteriorating Gerald Desmond Bridge.  The design-build agreement is the single largest contract ever awarded by the Port. 

A joint venture team headed by Shimmick Construction Co. Inc., FCC Construction S.A. and Impregilo S.p.A. (SFI) will design and construct the replacement bridge, which will rise more than 200 feet over the water and include a separate bicycle and pedestrian path.  The new bridge will be the first long-span cable-stayed bridge built in California and will enable post-Panamax ships greater access to the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles.  Construction of the new bridge, designed to ease traffic and congestion and improve safety, is expected to start in 2013 and is scheduled for completion in 2016.  The Port of Long Beach and the California Department of Transportation jointly procured the project and the Los Angeles County Metro and U.S. Department of Transportation contributed additional funds for the project. 

The Gerald Desmond span, which opened in 1968, is a major commuting route for the region, and a major trade corridor, carrying 15 percent of all containerized cargo imported to the United States. The bridge connects Terminal Island, the heart of the port complex, with the Long Beach (710) Freeway as well as downtown Long Beach.

While the contract for the joint venture is about $650 million, the total cost of the overall bridge replacement project is estimated at about $1 billion, including site preparation, demolition and other considerations. Over the four years of construction and demolition, the work is expected to employ 5,000 people a year on average.

A Nossaman team advised the Port of Long Beach and its Board of Harbor Commissioners on procurement and contract issues for this high-profile and groundbreaking cable-stayed bridge project.

Click here to learn more about this project.

Knik Arm Receives Six Quals

Yesterday the clock struck 4 p.m. in Anchorage, Alaska, the deadline for the P3 industry to submit statements of qualifications for the Knik Arm Crossing project. The public sponsor, Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA), found on its desk statements from six experienced teams. This level of interest in a U.S. P3 project has few parallels.  
Here are the six teams:
Knik Bridge Partners
Bechtel Enterprises Holdings
CSEC Holding Company, Inc.
China State Construction International Holdings, Ltd
Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation
CCA Civil, Inc.
Finley Civil Engineering Group, Inc.
Hanson Alaska LLC
Roy Jorgenson Associates, Inc.
BNP Paribas

Cook Inlet Passage Partners
Kiewit Development Company
Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.
Manson Construction Co.
VMS Inc. dba Transfield Services North America, Transportation Infrastructure
Parsons Transportation Group Inc.
Golder Associates Inc.
Dowl HKM
Dan Brown and Associates, PLLC
BMT Fleet Technologies
KPMG Corporate Finance LLC

Plenary Roads Alaska
Plenary Group USA Ltd.
John Laing Investments Limited
PCL Civil Constructors, Inc.
Granite Construction Company
H.W. Lochner, Inc.
MMM Group Limited
Michael Baker, Jr., Inc.
T.Y. Lin International
Shaw Environmental, Inc.
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Deutsche Bank AG

Alaska Infrastructure Access Partners
Infrared Capital Partners Limited
Bouygues TP
Colaska Inc. dba QAP
Weeks Marine, Inc.
URS Alaska, LLC
Moffatt & Nichol, Inc.
USKH, Inc.
R&M Consultants, Inc.
Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc.

Cintra Infraestructuras S.A.
Cintra Infraestructuras S.A.
Ferrovial Agroman S.A.
Orion Marine Contractors, Inc.
Anchor QEA, LLC

North Star Mobility Group
HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions North America, Inc.
HOCHTIEF Aktiengesellschaft
ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc.
ACS Servicios y Concessiones, S.L.
Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras, S.A.
Flatiron Constructors, Inc.
Dragados USA, Inc.
Dragados SA
Traylor Bros., Inc.
HNTB Corporation
CH2M Hill Engineers, Inc.
Alaska Interstate Construction LLC
Kodiak Map
Hart Crowser
Earth Mechnanics
Denali Drilling
Gregg Drilling
KABATA has commenced the evaluation process and plans to announce a short list in about a month.

Buzz for Knik Arm P3 Project at InfraAmericas Conference

The just ended InfraAmericas P3 conference in New York City brought together virtually every active participant, public and private, in the U.S. transportation P3 industry.  A number of public agencies showcased their plans and projects, and there was a palpable sense that opportunities to bring U.S. projects forward are growing significantly.

Perhaps the project producing the most buzz at the conference is the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority’s Knik Arm Crossing project in Alaska.  KABATA came to the conference loaded for bear (a not infrequent pastime in this bountiful state).  The day before the conference, KABATA hosted a very well attended industry forum at the Citicorp World Headquarters.  Attendees were greeted with messages from key political stakeholders, including Congressional representatives, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, state representatives and local officials.  In attendance were key policy and decision makers from the state, including State Sen. Linda Menard, KABATA’s Chairman Mike Foster, CEO Andrew Niemiec, CFO Kevin Hemenway and executives from the Departments of Revenue and Transportation.

During the two-day conference, KABATA held 17 individual meetings with major concessionaires, equity funds and constructors.  The appetite for this project appears large and growing.  KABATA received useful input and provided the industry with information on project status and the intended P3 procurement.  It was quite evident that teams are forming, some in an advanced stage and some still gelling.

Why does this project command the intense attention it is receiving?  We think a number of factors have converged to uniquely position the project.  What do you think?

  • Project maturity.  The project is well-defined.  The ROD and a no jeopardy biological opinion regarding beluga whales are in hand, permitting is well on its way, KABATA should have all ROW in place by the time of P3 award, and site conditions are well documented.
  • The political climate for the project has never been more favorable.  The essentiality of the project to the state-wide economy is broadly recognized.
  • KABATA’s decision to convert from a toll concession to an availability payment concession has better aligned the project with market realities and drawn attention from many players.
  • Analysis of the project’s financial feasibility is well-developed, realistic and positive, with industry leaders HDR, Wilbur Smith Associates, and Citgroup providing cost estimation, revenue estimation and financial planning.
  • KABATA’s plan for legislation in the Senate (SB 79 and SB 80) and the House (HB 158 and HB 159) to enhance the availability payment credit will underpin the project with the state’s AA appropriation debt rating.
  • Few new U.S. transportation projects are commencing serious, active procurement in the next few months.  The timing is excellent.

Stay tuned.  The RFQ is expected next month.