Prairie Link Constructors, a Fluor-led joint venture with Balfour Beatty of Dallas, received final notice to proceed from the North Texas Tollway Authority for the SH 161 Tollway project in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth region. The contract value is $416 million.

NTTA selected the Irving-based Fluor team in August. “The continuation of this project is a milestone for us, our partners and the North Texas region,” NTTA spokeswoman Susan Slupecki tells Texas Construction.

A final notice to proceed includes remaining design and construction of phase four and construction of the United Pacific Railroad bridge and at-grade crossings.

Phase four is a 6.5-mi stretch of road from North Carrier Parkway to IH-20. It will include mainlanes from North Carrier Parkway to IH-20, and interchanges at IH-30 at IH-20. It is expected to open in late 2012.

“The phase four project marks the first time NTTA will use the design-build,” Slupecki says. “Design-build reduces risk by having a single point of contact for quality, cost and schedule.” She says that means the contractor assumes a higher level of risk for the project, as they are solely responsible and liable for all phases. “NTTA staff and consultants will closely oversee the project for compliance,” she adds.

The SH 161 project consists of phase one, constructed by TxDOT and open to traffic. Phase two, opened in August. It was constructed by TxDOT with toll gantries constructed by NTTA and toll collection provided by NTTA. Phase three, which opened in April. Constructed by TxDOT with toll gantries constructed by and toll collection provided by NTTA. Phase four includes corridor improvements of two tolled, managed lanes in each direction and multi-level interchanges at each interstate.

The corridor, an extension of the President George Bush Turnpike, is an 11.5-mi link in the loop around Dallas, extending through the cities of Irving and Grand Prairie. It will provide a reliever route to SH 360, Slupecki says.