The Georgia Department of Transportation last week issued a request for qualifications for firms interested in designing, building and partially financing the nearly 30-mile, $1 billion Northwest Corridor project along Interstate 75 and 575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties.

The project will include two reversible managed lanes to carry traffic southbound during morning commute and northbound in the evenings.

A variable-rate toll, based on traffic volume, will be used for the new lanes.

The long-planned project is designed to provide congestion relief in the Atlanta region.

Interested firms have until July 19 to respond to the RFQ, including information related to their ability to finance between 10% and 20% of the project’s estimated $750 million to $850 million cost.

Officials said they expect to develop a shortlist of respondents that will be asked to submit.

A request for proposals will be issued in December, with responses due next June.

Construction is expected to begin in summer 2014 with an opening in spring 2018.

Details on the RFQ are available at http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/PRSapp/PublicBidNotice?bid_op=1348401P3-484-071912DBF.

Georgia announced last month that it would restart the project, which originally had been proposed as a public-private partnership.

The state gave up the P3 route to have more control over the tolls and right of ways.

Now, using a design-build contracting method, state officials expect to finance the project with a combination of transportation funds, a $270 million low-interest Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan, grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds, and toll-revenue bonds.

Georgia is asking the successful developer to provide a short-term bridge loan for construction costs, which will be repaid.

The state’s technical advisor on the project is HNTB Corp. Legal advisors are Greenberg Traurig LLP and Nossaman LLP. Financial advisors are Public Resources Advisory Group and Jeffrey A. Parker & Associates Inc.

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