A Tutor Perini Corp.-led team will manage design and construction of 14 miles of toll lanes on the Interstate-495 Capital Beltway/I-270 corridor in Washington, D.C.'s Maryland suburbs and rebuild of a 60-year-old Potomac River crossing. The estimated $6-billion project is being overseen by private consortium manager Accelerate Maryland Partners, made up of Transurban North America and Macquarie Infrastructure Developments LLC.

The team also includes contractors O&G Industries and Lunda Construction, with Parsons Corp. as lead designer for the project’s two phases.

“A project of this scale demands a strong team with the track record to collaborate and innovate,” said Pierce Coffee, Transurban North America president in the Sept. 21 announcement. “We are confident the Tutor Perini team is the right partner .... as we continue designing one of the largest public-private transportation projects in the nation.”

It was selected in a competition that included two other shortlisted teams. One is led by FCC Construction, with Fay, Allan Myers, Aldridge Electronic, Inc., Gannett Fleming Inc., and Jannsen & Spaans Engineering; and the other by The Lane Construction Corp., with Shirley Contracting, Corman Kokosing Construction, Concrete General, Wagman Heavy Civil, Bruce and Merrilees Electric, HNTB Corp., Rinker Design Associates P.C., and A. Morton Thomas & Associates.

Contractor Archer Western was originally set to manage design and construction for Transurban-Macquarie but dropped out before its selection for undisclosed reasons.

The team has signed a project labor agreement with the Laborers' union. “We are proud of our partnership with Tutor Perini, and we are excited to continue our partnership on the American Legion Bridge," said Dennis L. Martire, union vice president and mid-Atlantic regional manager, in the announcement.

Maryland’s proposal for the widening project was approved by the Federal Highway Administration on Aug. 25, which enables the state Dept. of Transportation and the consortium to finalize a 50-year design, build and management and finance contract, estimated at $4 billion, in exchange for keeping most express lane toll revenue.

Consortium spokeswoman Tanya Sheres did not provide a target date for when that contract would complete, noting that with the recent federal approval, the team "is entitled to an extension ... to achieve financial close." The consortium is "currently working with the state to determine what that extension will be," she added.

 

'More Momentum'

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), a strong proponent of the project, called the selection of Tutor Perini  “great news and more momentum” for “the most important transportation project for the National Capital Region in the last 50 years,” in a Sept. 21 tweet.

The state's three-member Board of Public Works, of which Hogan is one is set to approve the proposed 50-year Transurban-Macquarie contract, possibly before Hogan leaves office in January. Local media speculate that if that does not happen, Hogan's successor could cancel the project or alter its scope.

Sheres confirmed that, based on a 2021 predevelopment agreement with MDOT, if the board rejects the contract, the state must reimburse the consortium up to $50 million in planning costs. If the two sides fail to agree on a contract to submit for approval, Transurban-Macquarie must absorb costs.

The project still faces review by legislators and regional planning agency Maryland National Capital Planning Commission.

Opponents have also threatened legal action, citing potential detrimental effects on adjacent densely developed neighborhoods and the environment. The state and Accelerate Maryland Partners have vowed to mitigate all legitimate concerns and fund millions of dollars in high-priority area transit projects.

Other potential delays include a long-running bid protest by a Cintra-led team in the private consortium competition that claims irregularities in the selection process. MDOT rejected a circuit court-ordered reassessment of the protest in May, but the company has a separate legal challenge pending in Maryland’s Court of Appeals. Court dates are set in October and November.

According to Sheres, Tutor Perini's site mobilization awaits approval of the financial agreement. Provisions to keep project cost and schedule on track will be outlined in the consortium's design and construction contract, she said, but did not elaborate. The project team is also working with the state in setting subcontracting goals for "small, disadvantaged, minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses in the region," Sheres said, without disclosing any specific numbers.

Transurban and Macquarie Capital said their experience "spans more than 90 successful P3 projects globally, including Virginia’s 495, 95 and 395 Express Lanes network – the largest urban P3 toll network in the U.S. with all segments delivered on time and on budget."

A separate team led by Tutor Perini and Lunda had been shortlisted to take over completion of another major area public-private transportation project, the Purple Line light rail in Maryland's Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, after a Fluor Corp.-led team left the project in 2020 in a contract dispute. 

But a Dragados-OHL team was tapped by the project's private consortium last November for the role under a $3.4-billion contract.