The public-private partnership team selected to expand and improve a stretch of highway between Interstate 270 and I-70 in Maryland is preparing to move forward with Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) for the first phase of the estimated $11-billion project.

Accelerate Maryland Partners (AM Partners), led by Transurban and Macquarie, plans to reach financial close on Phase South, the first 14-mile section, by fall of 2022. A series of outreach events, starting with one on June 16, is planned.

Phase South will involve design, construction, operations and maintenance and tolling from south of the American Legion Bridge along I-495 to the I-370/I-270 interchange along I-270.

AM Partners will be issuing RFQs this month for the design and construction of Phase South A (I-495 from the vicinity of the George Washington Memorial Parkway to I-270) and Phase South B (I-270 from I-495 to I-370). After selecting up to three teams, Requests for Proposals should go out in August, says a spokesperson.

The team has a 50-year concession agreement and plans to begin predevelopment work this summer, the spokesperson says. That work will include working with stakeholders, utilities and the Maryland Dept. of Transportation to advance design.