BRADENTON, Fla. — Kentucky is seeking proposals from qualified teams to build its half of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project.

The state is planning to spend $1.38 billion through fiscal 2018 using a traditional design-build approach to construct a new Interstate 65 bridge over the Ohio River, revamp the existing Kennedy Bridge, rebuild the downtown Louisville interchange known as Spaghetti Junction, and build interstate connections in Jeffersonville and Clarksville, Ind.

Three teams already have been qualified to respond to the state’s request for proposals.

They have six months to develop detailed plans for the complex project. Technical proposals are due by Oct. 1 and cost proposals are due by Nov. 15.

“We have moved from promises and planning, to selecting a team of professionals who will help us deliver for the people of Kentucky and Indiana,” said Gov. Steve Beshear.

In addition to $300 million of federal highway funding, the state is planning to finance its portion of the project with $236 million of grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds and $846.2 million of toll-revenue debt.

The bonds will be sold by the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority, a new credit for the state created to issue debt for its share of the Ohio River Bridges Project and another $330 million of Garvees for other large transportation and bridge projects in the western region of the state.

“While we don’t have definitive timetable for either project at this juncture, my guess is that we will sell a portion of the [bond] authorization for both bridges projects sometime in 2013,” said Tom Howard, executive director of Kentucky’s office of financial management, finance and administration. “We will have a better idea once the design-build team has been selected.”

The KPTIA is not expected to issue toll-revenue bonds for its share of the Ohio River project until other funds and Garvee proceeds are exhausted, which could be a “few years away,” Howard said.

Qualified firms to serve as bond counsel and senior managing underwriter for the authority are currently being sought by Howard’s agency. Responses to the state’s request for qualifications are due May 17. Firms must be pre-qualified in order to respond to proposals that will be sought for each bond issuance.

Kentucky, whose financial advisor for the bridges project is Public Financial Management Inc., plans to award a construction contract by year’s end. Work would begin in early 2013 and end by June 2018.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Finance Authority on Thursday initiated an industry review process with the four consortia it has shortlisted for its $1.3 billion portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Indiana is using a public-private partnership to design, build, finance, operate and maintain its project using an availability payment scheme to build a new bridge across the Ohio River connecting Kentucky’s 841/I-265 with State Road 265 at SR 62 in Clark County, Ind.

Over the next three months, Indiana will hold a series of one-on-one meetings with its four pre-qualified teams to explore innovative ideas and cost savings to assist in the preparation of an RFP to be released in late July.

State officials expect to reach commercial close on its P3 contract by the end of the year. KPMG is the state’s financial advisor for the project. Bridge tolls will range from $1 to $10, depending on vehicle size and frequency of crossing. Both states plan to split the toll revenues evenly.

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