Category: General / 6 October 2014
Innovative P3 project completed nearly nine months ahead of schedule
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas – October 4, 2014 – Following a six-city progressive ribbon-cutting and ceremonial first drive by elected officials, the North Tarrant Express (NTE), a $2.1 billion highway reconstruction project opened to the public today.
More than 150 dignitaries, community leaders, workers, and representatives from the developer and the contractor were on hand for the final ribbon-cutting in the city of Fort Worth, on top of the newly constructed Riverside Drive Bridge.
“It is a sincere pleasure to be among so many visionary state, local and regional transportation planners, who are not just talking about the future, but making the future a reality,” said Rafaeldel Pino, chairman of Ferrovial, the parent of Cintra. “According to federal multipliers, a project of this magnitude will have generated more than 26,000 direct and indirect jobs to the region. That is a credit not just to this project, but more so to the dynamic entrepreneurship of the people and businesses of Tarrant County and this region. Together, we will provide long-awaited traffic congestion relief that will ensure that this region remains the engine of a vibrant state economy and will continue to be recognized across the United States, and indeed the world, for years to come.”
As a unique public-private partnership (P3), and the first Comprehensive Development Agreement project signed in the state of Texas in 2009, the NTE project serves as a financial model for other P3 projects. Additionally, it represents an extensive collaborative effort that can be replicated elsewhere in the state and the country. “Public-private partnerships produce outcomes that are greater than the sum of their parts,” said Jane Garvey, chairman of Meridiam North America. “The North Tarrant Express' opening today is the result of collaboration and consensus between local, state, and federal government, the private sector, and the community at large, and we're proud to have been a part of this project. I hope that stakeholders across the U.S. can enjoy the benefits of projects of this type and know that we'll work hard to continue delivering great service and value."
The NTE is seen as a model for other PPPs in Texas and around the country. The three investors in NTE are Cintra (56.7%), Meridiam (33.3%), and the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (10%). The project has used four methods of financing: an issuance of private activity bonds, a credit line controlled by the U.S. Department of Transportation called TIFIA, the investors’ funds, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
In addition to greatly enhancing the corridor and improving mobility for drivers, there construction project is attracting new businesses to the corridor. “Economic development officials at each of the six cities are already seeing increased interest as the highway has neared completion,” said Belen Marcos, CEO of NTE Mobility Partners. “For nearly two decades, there has been talk about improving this vital highway corridor, which in some respects discouraged businesses from locating here. Now, the end is officially in sight, and businesses are seeing the fully rebuilt corridor as a major asset.”
The project, which began in late 2010, has included the complete reconstruction of expanded frontage lanes and main lanes and the addition of new TEXpress managed lanes along I-820 and SH 121/183 between I-35W in Fort Worth and Industrial Boulevard in Euless. Construction of the NTE was delivered using the design-build method by Bluebonnet Contractors, a joint venture between Ferrovial Agroman US Corp and Webber that provided more than 2,500 jobs to 170 local construction companies.
The NTE project nearly doubles the road capacity with the addition of TEXpress lanes throughout the length of the corridor. Drivers will have the option to travel along the newly rebuilt general highway lanes and frontage roads at no charge, or enter the TEXpress Lanes.
Based on real-time traffic conditions and demand, the TEXpress toll prices will fluctuate periodically throughout the day to maintain a minimum speed of 50mph. Sensors along the roadway will continuously transmit information about the volume of cars and level of congestion, and tolls will be recalibrated as often as every five minutes. As traffic levels and demand increase, the toll price changes to keep vehicles moving. Once traffic volumes drop, the price goes down.
Extensive signage, including dedicated entrance and exit ramps, will guide drivers safely on and off each segment. Toll rates will be clearly marked at each entrance ramp so drivers can decide if they want to pay to take the TEXpress lanes, or use the general highway lanes. The rate a driver sees on the sign will not change for that segment.
During the first six months following the opening, a fixed schedule with higher rates during rush hours will apply. After this initial period, demand-based congestion-management pricing will be implemented to keep TEXpress traffic moving at 50 mph or faster. Toll rates will be published on the NTE TEXpress website every Sunday for the upcoming week. Additional information on the TEXpress lanes, including discounts for motorcycles, carpools and most vanpools, is available at: www.NTETEXpress.com.
The posted speed limit on the TEXpress lanes will be 70 mph; the general purpose, main lanes will have a posted speed limit of 60 mph. The difference is dictated bythe fact that there are fewer exits and entrances along the TEXpress lanes. TxDOT will monitor traffic conditions and adjust the speed limit if warranted.
For more information on the North Tarrant Express project, please visit www.northtarrantexpress.com.
With US headquarters in Austin, Texas, Cintra is a subsidiary of Madrid-based Ferrovial. Cintra is the leading private-sector transportation infrastructure company in the world with experience spanning more than 45 years of innovative highway development on three continents. Today its portfolio includes more than 1,300 miles of managed highways worldwide, representing a total global investment in roadway improvements of approximately $30 billion. Cintra manages more than $14 billion in infrastructure projects in the United States.
Ferrovial is one of the world's leading infrastructure operators and municipal services companies, committed to developing sustainable solutions. The company has 65,000 employees and a presence in over 25 countries. Its main business areas are: Services, Toll Roads, Construction and Airports. It is a member of Spain's blue-chip IBEX 35 index and is also included in prestigious sustainability indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4 Good. Ferrovial manages 407 Express Toll Route (Canada), Heathrow Airport (UK), Chicago Skyway (USA) and Ausol toll road (Spain), among others. It also provides municipal, environmental and infrastructure maintenance services in Spain, the UK, Poland, Portugal, Chile, Australia and Qatar.
About Ferrovial Agroman
Ferrovial Agroman is a leader in the global construction market, having 80 years of construction experience in DBB, DB, and P3 projects in all types of infrastructure assets. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Ferrovial Agroman US Corp. (FAUS) is the United States operating entity and is currently constructing $7 billion of infrastructure in Texas, Virginia and North Carolina. FAUS has been operating in the U.S. since 2005 and ranks as the #6 transportation contractor and #7 Heavy Civil contractor in the country according to ENR 2014 rankings with $1.5 billion in revenues.
Webber is a Texas based Construction Company that has been in business for over 51 years. Participating in more than 16,000 heavy civil projects, Webber was ranked largest transportation contractor in Texas by ENR in 2013. Webber employs 1,700 Texans and performs $1 billion work annually for owners such as TxDOT, Port of Galveston, Burlington Northern Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, and various Texas regional transportation authorities. As the industry has evolved, Webber has taken giants steps to move into the future. We understand the challenges of today’s projects - from innovation, competitiveness and tight schedules, to keeping everyone safe and following DBE and environmental requirements. Today’s Webber is formed by a range of professionals who excel in delivering both traditional design-bid-build projects, such as IH30 to the Entertainment District in Arlington, and design-build ventures, like the North Tarrant Express (NTE) and IH 635 (LBJ Express).
About Meridiam Infrastructure
Founded in 2005, Meridiam is an independent investment firm specialized in the development, financing, and management of long-term public infrastructure projects. With offices in Paris, New York, Toronto and Istanbul, Meridiam is the leading investor in public infrastructure in Europe and North America. Currently managing €2.8 billion ($3.5 billion) of assets, the firm has to date invested in 32 projects. Designated Global Infrastructure Fund of the Year for the third time in 2012, Meridiam was also the first investor and asset manager to receive ISO 9001 certification.
About the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System
Created by the City of Dallas in 1916, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (DPFPS) represents 9,400 members and their families. DPFPS’ assets are maintained for the exclusive benefit of the members and their qualified beneficiaries. DPFPS’ funding comes from three sources: member contributions, city contributions and investment returns. The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System provides benefits for retired City of Dallas police officers and firefighters, and upon the member’s death, for their qualified survivors. DPFPS is administered by a 12-member Board of Trustees, consisting of three active police officers, three active firefighters, one police officer pensioner, one firefighter pensioner, and four Dallas City Council members.