BRADENTON, Fla. – Georgia has chosen Northwest Express Roadbuilders to negotiate a contract for the construction of the 30-mile, managed-lane Northwest Corridor project.

The state’s largest-ever transportation project is designed to relieve gridlock in the Atlanta region. It was previously estimated to cost nearly $1 billion.

The estimate has now been revised to $840 million due largely to “innovations” proposed by Northwest Express in its bid for the project, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. No other details were made available about changes that reduced the cost.

Northwest is a joint venture of Archer Western Contractors LLC of Atlanta, Hubbard Construction Co. of Winter Park, Fla., and Pasadena, Calif.-based Parsons Transportation Group Inc., which is the lead engineering firm.

The team submitted as bid of $599 million to design and build the Northwest Corridor Project. There also will be an equity contribution but that amount was not released by GDOT, which has said the contribution will be reimbursed.

Project funding will come from state and federal funds, bonds backed by tolls and federal grants, a yet-to-be approved low-interest federal loan, and gap financing from Northwest.

The contract is expected to be finalized later this year with construction beginning next year.  The project is scheduled to open to traffic in 2018.

New managed lanes will be added 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 to allow southbound-only traffic during morning commuting hours and northbound traffic in the evenings.

To access the managed lanes, drivers will pay a variable-rate toll based on traffic volume. The toll rate will be controlled by the state, not the contractor.

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