Kiewit consortium's I-70 expansion in CO will cost $2.2B
- The Colorado Department of Transportation's public-private partnership (P3) with Kiewit Meridiam Partners (KMP) for the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of its Interstate 70 expansion through Denver will cost $2.2 billion over 30 years, according to The Denver Post.
- Construction, including financing costs, is expected to run approximately $1.3 billion. CDOT will come out of pocket for $687 million in upfront costs and then make annual payments to KMP to reimburse the consortium for the portion of the project it finances, as well as for operations and maintenance.
- KMP has agreed to pay for most potential cost overruns, and CDOT will pay for a portion of the project with the tolls the agency collects. KMP will receive CDOT funding only upon completion of predetermined project milestones.
The I-70 project has come under fire from activists on a few fronts. Critics in the community near where construction is to take place have accused project officials of gentrification after it was revealed that 56 homes and 17 businesses in the largely Hispanic area would have to be demolished. The city argued back that the expansion would create 5,000 new jobs, 20% of which will be set aside for local residents.
Another legal challenge to the project is a lawsuit filed by activists, a developer and other local community members who claim that construction will disturb a toxic Superfund site and that the CDOT did not take into consideration a drainage system nearby that will be affected by the project. Earlier this month, according to The Denver Post, a federal judge dismissed some of those claims, but the case against the project is still active.
Another Denver-area highway project was on the wrong end of a potentially crippling legal decision, this one from the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency decided back in August that the proposed $250 million Jefferson Parkway would run too close to the runways at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, but changing its projected path would necessitate buying more land, raising costs so high that many potential private investors would not take the risk of putting money into it.
The $2 billion Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway project in Phoenix has also been the target of legal protests. The Gila River Indian Community sued the Federal Highway Administration and the Arizona Dept. of Transportation in June 2015 on the grounds that construction would "desecrate sacred land and damage both the community’s cultural resources and members’ quality of life." A federal judge refused to stop construction in November of last year, and that decision is under appeal.
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter