The Georgia Dept. of Transportation on July 23 named a team of Archer Western Contractors, Hubbard Construction and Parsons Transportation Group as the builders of its $840-million Northwest Corridor project. The public-private partnership project—which GDOT calls "long-anticipated and much-needed"—is being procured via a design-build-finance contract.

Map courtesy Georgia Dept. of Transportation
The Northwest Corridor project will add two managed lanes to Interstate 75 between I-285N and the I-575 Interchange. North of that interchange, it will add one managed lane to both I-75 and I-575.

Pending finalization of a P3 contract later this year, Northwest Express Roadbuilders will construct the 29.7-mile-long project, located in Cobb and Cherokee counties.

The Northwest Corridor project will build two barrier-separated, reversible tolled managed lanes along the west side of Interstate 75 between I-285 and I-575. These lanes will carry traffic southbound during morning commute hours and northbound in the evenings, according to GDOT.

North of the I-575 interchange, the project will add one reversible lane to I-75’s center median north to Hickory Grove Road, and along I-575 lane north to Sixes Road.

GDOT officials announced that the Northwest Express team submitted a bid of $599 million, which lowered the project’s overall estimated cost from an initial estimate of $951 million to the current $840 million price. That cost makes it “by far the largest contract” in the agency’s history, GDOT states.

Two other teams vied for the contract, including a partnership of C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., and the Michael Baker Corp. Another group comprised of Bechtel Infrastructure Corp., Kiewit Infrastructure South Co., Dewberry and Davis, and STV Inc. also bid for the project.

According to the agency, construction should start in 2014, with the new facility opening to traffic in early 2018.

The contract is funded by $300 million in state motor fuel taxes designated by the state assembly for this project, as well as $200 million from GDOT’s construction budget. Additionally, the state had applied for a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan of up to $270 million from the federal government. According to the Federal Highway Administration, Georgia’s application for TIFIA funding is still under review.

The P3 team would also provide financing for the project during the construction period, which would then be repaid by the state. GDOT has estimated the amount of this private-sector financing at between 10 and 20 percent of the contract’s cost.