The US 36 Express Lanes Project completes improvements to US 36 in Colorado, a congested two-lane highway connecting the rapidly growing cities of Boulder, Louisville, Broomfield, Westminster, Denver and communities in between.
The Project promotes multimodal transportation strategies that increase travel choices and efficiency for all modes—including general and express lanes, bus rapid transit, bicycling and walking—while reducing emissions and resource use. Now complete, residents have more options for cleaner, safer and less congested travel.
Multiple Locations, Colorado, USA
Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise
Ames Construction, Inc./Granite Construction Company Joint Venture
HDR Engineering, Inc.
Financial close date
50 years, Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain
To fit local needs, the Colorado Department of Transportation Enterprise (CDOT) split delivery of the project into two phases. The first phase was procured as a design-build contract, which began initial construction work along the corridor. The second phase was procured as a P3, with Plenary Roads Denver selected as concessionaire to cover design, build, and finance of the Phase 2 construction work.
With construction now complete, Plenary has begun operations and maintenance. In addition, Plenary operates and maintains the existing I-25 Express Lanes segment connecting US 36 to downtown Denver.
The operating and maintenance contract is for 50 years which commenced following construction completion in early 2016. The partnership between Plenary Group and CDOT will see the delivery of an efficient, well-maintained multimodal transportation corridor 20 years sooner than originally planned.
The scope of work includes:
The Project involved the construction of one express lane in each direction along the US 36 median and the Bus Rapid Transit system runs within the managed lane.
As part of the concession agreement Plenary was required to guarantee minimum travel speeds for buses within the express lane. Toll rates have been prominently displayed along the corridor to inform users of the cost and allow them to make a decision whether or not to enter the express lane. Initially tolls will be based on “time-of-day” pricing. In later years when congestion has increased, tolling will be “fully dynamic” with pricing based on real-time expected time savings.
PRD also employed a sophisticated arrangement to finance Phase 2 of the Project, consisting of four tranches of debt on two liens in addition to the Sponsor’s equity. As part of this financing package, PRD has assumed HPTE’s existing obligations from the project’s first phase, a $54 million TIFIA loan (TIFIA 1), and issued approximately $20 million of additional parity PABs. PRD has also entered into a new $60 million TIFIA loan (TIFIA 2). Finally, PRD issued approximately $20 million of Subordinate debt and is contributing additional equity into the project.
The Corridor diagonally bisects the northwest Denver metropolitan area, carrying between 80,000 and 120,000 trips per day. The Corridor is economically diverse: approximately 17 per cent of Denver metro region’s business and employment—more than 26,000 businesses and 200,000 jobs—are located along the Corridor.
With US 36 currently operating at 90 per cent capacity, the addition of express lanes and improved BRT stops give commuters significantly improved transit options while also alleviating congestion on the existing general lanes.
That means less time and money lost to traffic congestion.
The project helped provide economic stimulus by creating and supporting thousands of jobs for the local Area. At the peak of construction there was 1200 workers on site daily.
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