Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Transportation Update: Border Highway West

Commission Approves $600M Minute Order for Loop 375 Extension

A minute order was recently signed by the Texas Transportation Commission approving a $600 million grant for the Border Highway West project in El Paso, with funds coming from Texas Mobility Fund bonds. The new tollway will extend Loop 375 from south of Downtown to the northwest for seven additional miles.
The Border Highway West extension will include new accessibility to and from both Doniphan Drive and McNutt Road near Sunland Park, New Mexico. (TXDOT)

The funds have been authorized for the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA), who originally sought to make the project a reality. However, the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) requested last year that the CRRMA waive its option to develop the project so that TXDOT could bring it to fruition.
The Border Highway West extension will contain many miles of bridge structures, with the majority of the tollway elevated. (TXDOT)

Now, the two parties will partner up on the project, with TXDOT responsible for most of the development and construction and the CRRMA overseeing the design and installation of toll facilities and infrastructure. In addition to the $600 million secured for the project, TXDOT will kick in another estimated $200 million needed to complete the tollway.
This concept image shows the view looking southeast from McNutt Road approaching the elevated Border Highway West tollway. (TXDOT)

Four development teams were shortlisted for the project last October, including two that recently held meetings for subcontractors interested in performing work on the tollway. Rio Bravo Developers, consisting of Fluor Enterprises of Irving, Texas, Ames Construction, Inc., of Minnesota, and Austin Bridge & Road, L.P., also of Irving, held a meeting on January 15, 2014. And Border Highway Mobility Partners, consisting of Walsh Construction of Chicago, Sundt Construction of Arizona, Infrastructure Corporation of America of Tennessee, and Parsons Corporation of California, held a meeting on February 5, 2014.

The other two teams consist of Camino Frontera Constructors (Zachry Construction Corporation of San Antonio and Skanska USA Civil West of Colorado) and Abrams-Kiewit (J.D. Abrams, L.P. of Austin and Kiewit Infrastructure South Co. of Omaha).
Paisano Drive east of Downtown El Paso will be reconfigured to make room for new ramps that will take traffic to and from Loop 375 near Delta Drive. This will be the view looking west. (TXDOT)

The nine mile project will create a seven mile tolled expressway from Downtown El Paso, where Loop 375 currently ends, to the north and west to a point just south of the Interstate 10 at Paisano Drive intersection near Sunland Park. Southeast of downtown, a new multi-ramp interchange will connect the existing Border Highway with Paisano Drive and Delta Street, providing east and westbound access to the city’s center.
New ramps will take drivers to and from Loop 375 and Paisano Drive, east of Downtown. (TXDOT)

TXDOT is expected to choose the development team this spring with a Notice to Proceed possibly issued by the end of 2014. The project may take about three years to complete.