Midtown Tunnel P3 contract awarded in Virginia Dec 2011
Paula Wallis, TunnelTalk
- A private consortium led by Skanska Infrastructure Development and Macquarie Group is selected to build a new Midtown Tunnel immersed tube crossing of the Elizabeth River between the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth in the USA.
Fig 1. Midtown Tunnel alignment
- The Elizabeth River Crossing Consortium (ERCC) signed a contact with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) on Monday (December 5).
- The new two-lane tunnel will be built just downstream of the existing Midtown Tunnel, one of the most congested roadways in the region, with nearly one million vehicles traveling through it each month.
- "This project has been one that has been on the books for some time and one that's long overdue," said Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton. "The State's use of a public-private partnership structure will enable VDOT to attract approximately $1.7 billion in private investment to a project that yields tangible long term benefits to the region and the State."
- The project will be financed through tolls that are scheduled to begin next year on the existing Midtown Tunnel and the Downtown Tunnel.
- The immersed tube crossing, with a curvilinear alignment, will require dredging the main stem of the Elizabeth River. The tunnel trench will not exceed a depth of 110ft below the water surface, and will be about 46ft wide at the bottom and about 210ft at the top. The majority of more than 1,000,000 yd3 of dredged material is anticipated to be deposited in an offshore disposal site. Construction will also include the relocation of a 30in raw water main and possible relocation of a 42in sewer main both crossing the Elizabeth River. Both relocations would be directionally bored under the river between shafts on either side, eliminating riverbed disturbance.
- In addition to the new tunnel, the $2.1 billion project calls for the rehabilitation of the existing Midtown Tunnel, as well as both of the Downtown tunnels, to conform with current national fire safety standards. The Martin Luther King (MLK) Freeway from London Boulevard to I-264 will also be extended.
- Table 1. Elizabeth River Crossings Consortium
Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc.
Macquarie Financial Holding Limited
Skanska USA Civil Southeast, Inc.
Kiewit Construction Co. and
Weeks Marine, Inc.
Volkert & Associates, Inc.
Macquarie Capital Funds Inc. – Finance
Steer Davies Gleave – Traffic & Revenue
McGuire Woods Consulting – Public Affairs
Orrick – Sponsor's Legal Counsel
Hunton & Williams - Local Counsel
Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, (PBS&J) Inc – Intelligent Transportation Systems
OR Colan Associates – Right of Way
Arup - Equity TA/Asset Condition Survey
Atkins - Lender's TA and Traffic Advisor
Marsh - Insurance
- Under the terms of the PPP agreement the ERCC will finance, build, operate and maintain the tunnels and MLK extension for 58 years. ERC also assumes the risk of delivering the project on a performance-based, fixed-price contract. VDOT will retain ownership of the facilities and will contribute $362 million specifically designated to lower tolls that will initially range between $1.59 and $1.84. Tolls will be collected electronically, eliminating the need for tollbooths.
- According to the contract, the ERCC will provide financing through a $422 million TIFIA loan, and approximately $1.3 billion through equity, debt and revenue from operations.
- "Our partnership with the Commonwealth will deliver this nationally significant project responsibly, economically, and expeditiously," said Karl Reichelt, Executive Vice President of Skanska Infrastructure Development, co-developer of ERC. "And importantly, it will improve quality of life for the region by opening new channels for economic development and travel."
- Tunnel construction is expected to begin in the Fall of 2012, pending financial arrangements being completed early next year.
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