Fort Worth – One of the most congested freeways in the state will finally see some relief. The 6.5-mile stretch of road on Interstate 35W from Interstate 30 north to the junction of Loop 820, part of the larger North Tarrant Express project, achieved financial close on Thursday, meaning funding for the $1.4 billion project is secured. The project, known as Segment 3A of the NTE, will take about four years, finishing in 2018. The contract was awarded to Cintra US, an Austin-based subsidiary of Madrid-based Cintra.
“This is a huge win for Texas, and demonstrates significant market confidence in this public-private partnership,” said Nicolas Rubio, president, Cintra US, in a news release. “Through this innovative public-private partnership, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) have utilized the strength of the private sector to deliver this project years sooner than otherwise possible and at vastly reduced public costs, while creating local job growth and fostering economic development for the region.”
The construction of Segment 3A of the NTE will rebuild 6.5 miles of the existing main lanes of I-35W, construct new, expanded frontage roads, and expand the highway with the addition of two TEXpress lanes (or managed toll lanes) in both directions, doubling the capacity of the highway. The 3A Segment extends from I-30 in downtown Fort Worth up to and through the I-35W/I-820 interchange. Construction is expected to begin this fall. Segment 3B is being constructed by TxDOT and will be operated by NTEMP3. NTEMP3 is led by Cintra USand Meridiam Infrastructure. The equity members also include the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System and APG. The project is being financed through a combination of public and private funds: $531 million from a federal TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan; $430 million in private equity from investment partners; $274 million in Private Activity Bonds (PABs) maturing in 25 and 30 years (which were 2.5 and 4 times oversubscribed respectively); and $127 million in public funds from TxDOT and NCTCOG.