- In a presolicitation information memorandum sent to potential contractors and concessionaires interested in being part of a $7.6 billion public-private partnership for construction and operation of managed lanes on Interstates 495 and 270 in Maryland, the state’s DOT has indicated it could split its Traffic Relief Plan into several different phases, each with its own P3 contract. The DOT sent the memo in advance of a December industry forum where officials will meet with potential bidders.
- The MDOT said the potential first phase would be worth between $2 billion and $5 billion and would see the winning bidder design, build and finance managed lanes from Virginia into Maryland, rehabilitate the American Legion Bridge, which crosses the Potomac River, and then operate and maintain the managed lanes and associated infrastructure for 50 years. The MDOT plans to short-list qualified potential P3 teams and ask them to respond to a request for proposals. The agency said it will consider feedback it receives at the industry forum and is looking for “shockingly innovative approaches” to carrying out the P3 plan.
- The agency said its goals in pursuing its Traffic Relief Plan are to reduce congestion, accommodate expected long-term area growth, minimize environmental impacts, limit disruption to commuters through accelerated and efficient construction and accomplish all of this without dipping into state’s Transportation Trust Fund. According to a preliminary schedule included in the memorandum, the state expects to select a P3 team for the first phase in the third quarter of 2020.
In January, the MDOT announced that 27 private entities based in the U.S. and around the world had already expressed interest in participating in the project. The preliminary scope of work at the time was for the addition of four toll lanes to both I-495 and I-270.
The Washington D.C. metro area will likely see an increase in traffic thanks to Amazon’s decision to establish additional headquarters in Northern Virginia. Many of the 25,000 workers, particularly those with families, will no doubt seek homes outside urban areas, and that includes the Maryland suburbs.
Some of those workers who want to avoid interstate traffic will be able to take advantage of the Purple Line light rail system, which is under construction. The $5.6 billion, 16-mile line should be complete in 2022 and will provide Maryland commuters with a connection from suburban neighborhoods to the Washington Metro's Red, Green and Orange lines.