Texas Department of Transportation Has Reached Tentative Deal to Expand I-35W

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has reached a tentative, $1.6 billion deal with a private developer to expand Interstate 35W in north Fort Worth.  According to a report released by TxDOT in late August, the stretch of I-35W in northern Tarrant County that is the subject of the agreement is the most congested roadway in the state - causing motorists to collectively waste more than 2 million hours.  The deal between TxDOT and the developer, an affiliate of the entity that is currently developing the $2.5 billion North Tarrant Express project in northeast Tarrant County, will add approximately 10 miles of I-35W to the North Tarrant Express work. 

Pursuant to the agreement, the developer will design, build, operate and maintain Segment 3A - the portion of the road from I-30 to Loop 820. TxDOT will build Segment 3B - the portion of the road from north of Loop 820 to U.S. 287 at an estimated cost of $234 million, prior to turning it over to the developer.  The developer will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility and will collect the tolls generated on the managed toll lanes of the facility until 2061.

There are a number of sources of funding for the project.  According to TxDOT, the North Central Texas Council of Governments has committed $89.5 million, as well as a possible additional $40.5 million for project contingencies.  The U.S. Transportation Department has invited the developer to apply for a federal loan of up to $537 million under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).  The developer will contribute $273 million in private activity bonds and $446 million in equity to the project. 

Work under the agreement includes rebuilding existing lanes and adding two managed toll lanes in each direction of I-35W from north of Interstate 30 near downtown Fort Worth to the U.S. 287 split south of Alliance Airport.  The parties intend to execute the agreement by early 2013 and the construction could begin by mid-2013 and be substantially completed by mid-2018.  The draft agreement for the NTE Segments 3A & 3B Facility is available on TxDOT’s website

Fred Kessler co-authored this entry.