MDOT receives 31 responses on proposed P3 projects

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) efforts to gauge interest by the private sector in forming public-private partnerships (P3s) on several projects has produced 31 responses.

Businesses and other entities submitted 12 “letters of interest” for proposed bridge work, 12 for freeway lighting projects, two for timber management and five for two US-127 rest areas.

“We’re encouraged by the responses we’ve received and the possibilities of saving money, improving service and increasing safety,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “We will evaluate all of these responses and determine the viability of developing requests for qualifications and proposals.”

The bridge P3 projects under consideration are:

— Replacing the I-75 bridge decks over Fort Street and the Rouge River in Detroit.

— Reconstructing bridges in two highway corridors: I-94, from Elm Road to US-127 in Jackson County; and I-94, from Euclid Avenue to US-31 in Berrien County. These are currently large corridor projects for which MDOT is actively seeking alternate means of project delivery while still administering the Five-Year Transportation Program.

Respondents to the bridge projects seemed more interested in larger contracts ranging from $100 million to $600 million. Typical timeframes were between 30 and 40 years. Bridge companies entering into P3 agreements would be responsible for designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining the bridges.

Regarding freeway lighting, MDOT proposed three P3 projects:

— The entire state freeway lighting system – about 18,400 lights, excluding rest areas and other facility lighting.

— Freeway lighting in Detroit and Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties – about 80 percent of the state freeway lighting system.

— Freeway tunnel lighting on I-696 in Oakland County and on M-10 underneath Cobo Center in Detroit.

There was interest in all of the lighting projects. Several different P3 finance models were proposed. Most respondents seemed to prefer longer-term contracts, with the number of years ranging from five to 35.

The proposed timber management P3 projects would provide forest management activities to help sustain selected forested areas along four highway corridors:

— US-2 (128 miles) in the Upper Peninsula

— I-75 (134 miles) in the northern Lower Peninsula

— US-127 (78 miles) in Clare, Gratiot and Isabella counties

— US-131 (51 miles) in Kent, Mecosta and Montcalm counties

Two forest management companies expressed interest in the projects, but said a timber survey would be needed to assess their viability.

The two rest areas proposed for P3 projects are the Higgins Lake and Houghton Lake facilities along US-127 in Roscommon County. Some of the respondents were looking solely for advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Others were interested in providing food services or enhanced vending, or in operating and maintaining the rest areas themselves.

For a list of the respondents to MDOT’s letters of interest, follow this link: http://1.usa.gov/14ZdrAm.


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