The Texas Dept. of Transportation has selected a developer for the expansion of state highway 99/Grand Parkway, a 184-mile outer loop around the Houston metropolitan area, the agency announced on Sept. 27. Zachry-Odebrecht Parkway Builders, a fully integrated design-build joint venture between Zachry Corp. and Odebrecht formed specifically for this project, will construct three phases of state Highway 99.

As part of the $1.04-billion contract, Zachry-Odebrecht will build state Highway 99 segments F1, F2 and G, totaling 37 miles of new toll road in Harris and Montgomery counties. Included within the three segments will be more than 50 bridges, frontage roads, and drainage and utility infrastructure.

Senate Bill 1420 granted TxDOT the authority to develop the Grand Parkway through public-private partnerships.

"Should TxDOT elect, the Zachry-Odebrecht JV could perform maintenance of the project for up to a 15-year period," says Tara Snowden, Zachry spokeswoman.

The companies also plan to use alternate technical concepts (ATCs)—"design concepts that oftentimes 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, 10 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 U.S. 59 intersection."

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.