The Texas Dept. of Transportation has selected a developer for the expansion of state highway 99, Grand Parkway, a 184-mile outer loop that will give area drivers a third route to get around the Houston metropolitan area, the agency announced September 27. Zachry-Odebrecht Parkway Builders, a design-build joint venture between Zachry Corp. and Odebrecht that was formed specifically for this project, will construct three phases of SH 99.

“Zachry and Odebrecht will operate as a fully integrated joint venture, responsible for design and construction,” says Tara Snowden, manager of Government Relations and Corporate Communications at Zachry.

As part of the contract, which TxDOT estimates is worth $1.04 billion, Zachry-Odebrecht will build SH 99 segments F1, F2 and G in Harris and Montgomery Counties, totaling 37 miles of new toll road. Included within these three segments will be more than 50 bridges, frontage roads as well as drainage and utility infrastructure.

Senate Bill 1420 granted TxDOT the authority to develop Grand Parkway through public-private partnerships. While the state will maintain ownership of the project, the provisions of the partnerships allow the agency to contract with the private sector for design, construction, and potentially operation and maintenance.

“Should the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) elect, the Zachry-Odebrecht JV could perform maintenance of the project for up to a 15-year period, as stipulated in the contract,” Snowden says.

Zachry-Odebrecht indicated that G. Parsons Transportation Group will serve as the project’s design lead, with Dannenbaum Engineering, Brown & Gay Engineers, Inc. and PGAL serving as segment leads. Several other local engineering firms will also play a part in the project.

The companies also plan to utilize Alternate Technical Concepts (ATCs), “design concepts that often times provide an added benefit to the project in terms of costs, schedule, or maintenance,” Snowden says. “The Zachry-Odebrecht joint venture submitted a wide-variety of ATCs to TxDOT. Ultimately, ten ATCs were approved and incorporated into the proposal, including improvements to I-45 frontage road, cross road pavement design, vertical and horizontal road profile, drainage structures and the US 59 intersection.”

An estimated 800 direct local jobs will be created throughout construction of this portion of SH 99, the company further noted.
Design work on the project will begin shortly, and construction is expected to begin in early 2013, Snowden says. TxDOT expects the road to open in 2015.