BRADENTON, Fla. — The North Carolina Turnpike Authority has received final federal approval of the route for the Garden Parkway, a 22-mile, limited-access toll road.
The record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration, received last week, will allow the Turnpike Authority to obtain construction permits and finalize the project’s plan of finance.
Construction and related elements, such as utilities and purchasing rights of way, are estimated to cost $928 million.
About 350 home sites will be purchased.
The preliminary plan of finance contains a mix of state-appropriation bonds, toll revenue bonds and grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds, or Garvees.
A $385.9 million low-interest loan is being sought from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, according to turnpike documents.
The Garden Parkway, also known as the Gaston East-West Connector, will run from Interstate 85 west of Gastonia in Gaston County to I-485 near the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in Mecklenburg County.
“The authority is also moving forward with the project-procurement process that will ultimately lead to awarding two contracts for design and construction of the project,” said turnpike spokeswoman Reid Simons. “The 21.9-mile parkway is design-build, which means that project design and construction are completed simultaneously by a single team, helping to reduce construction time and avoid cost inflation.”
Two design-build contracts will be awarded for the project.
The contract for the east portion of the project will include a four-lane divided highway from I-485 near the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport to west of Wilson Farm Road.
It will also include toll operations for the entire project.
The western contract includes construction of a four-lane highway from east of Wilson Farm Road to U.S. 321, and a new two-lane road between U.S. 321 and I-85 west of Gastonia.
The two-lane portion includes the right of way necessary for future expansion of the road to four lanes.
The Turnpike Authority has already shortlisted design-build teams for the parkway.
The four teams are Barnhill Contracting Co. with lead designer HDR Engineering Inc., Catawba Constructors with lead designer Florence & Hutcheson Inc., Flatiron Constructors Inc. and S.T. Wooten Corp. with AECOM Technical Services of North Carolina Inc., and Lane Construction Corp. with RS&H Architects-Engineers-Planners Inc.
A request for proposals for the eastern contract was released recently.
An RFP for the western contract will be released later this month.
Approval of the construction permits and final plan of finance is anticipated this summer.
Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin later this year, with construction beginning in mid-2013.
The North Carolina Turnpike Authority was created in 2002 to use alternative financing to pay for roads. The Garden Parkway was among five toll-road projects that were approved.
The authority has already financed the Triangle Expressway and the Monroe Connector. The seven-mile-long Mid-Currituck Bridge in the Outer Banks is in development.
The Turnpike Authority issued $365.5 million of state-appropriation and Garvee bonds late last year for the $725 million, 19.7-mile Monroe Connector.
The first tranche of financing was $233.9 million of taxable Build America Bonds sold in October 2010.
The Turnpike Authority issued $616 million of bonds for the Triangle Expressway in 2009. It is the state’s first modern toll road.