BRADENTON, Fla. - The Georgia Transportation Board has chosen a team of Atlanta and Florida contractors to build the state’s $840 million Northwest Corridor managed lanes project to relieve severe congestion in the Atlanta region.
Northwest Express Roadbuilders, a joint venture of Atlanta-based Archer Western Contractors LLC and Winter Park, Fla.-based Hubbard Construction Co., submitted a bid of $598.5 million to design and build the 30-mile toll road project along Interstate 75.
In addition to the cost of design and construction, the state has spent more than $240 million on the purchase of right of way, preliminary engineering, and the expense of securing environmental permits.
“We’ve been working towards this moment for years,” said a statement by Jay Shaw, chairman of the transportation board. “It is gratifying to finally be able to tell the hundreds of thousands of motorists who use this corridor that their patience has been appreciated and that better mobility choices truly are coming.”
The long-planned Northwest Corridor is the state’s largest transportation project. The Georgia Department of Transportation will manage it and the State Road and Tollway Authority will collect the tolls.
The tollway authority, which will issue up to $385 million of toll bonds and $125 million of grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds, or Garvees, for a portion of the financing, must also approve the construction contract as must the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.
GDOT will dedicate up to $536 million from state and federal motor-fuel sales taxes to the project, and is seeking a $270 million TIFIA, or Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, federal loan.
Northwest Express Roadbuilders must invest a minimum of 10% in the project cost, and will be paid back by the state after completing certain stages of the work, according to GDOT spokesman David Spear.
State officials expect to complete work on the construction contract by November. Work will begin next year and completion is expected in 2018.
The Northwest Corridor project will add new managed lanes along Interstates 75 and 575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties, major commuting arteries northwest of Atlanta.
The new lanes will be separated from the existing Interstate, and will be reversible in order to allow only southbound traffic during morning commuting hours and northbound traffic in the evenings.
Drivers will pay a variable-rate toll based on traffic volume to access the lanes. Toll rates will be controlled by the state.