The Texas Department of Transportation and Abrams-Kiewit Joint Venture Reach Agreement on the Loop 375 Border Highway West Extension Project

by Nossaman LLP
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On August 22, 2014, the Texas Department of Transportation and Abrams-Kiewit Joint Venture (Developer) reached commercial close on the Loop 375 Border Highway West Extension Project (Project).  The contract, which includes design-build and comprehensive maintenance agreements (collectively the CDA), was conditionally awarded to the Developer in April of this year.  Developer is a joint venture consisting of J.D. Abrams and Kiewit Infrastructure South Co.

The Project is located west of downtown El Paso, south of Interstate Highway 10 (I-10) and extends approximately nine miles from Racetrack Drive near Doniphan Road and New Mexico 273 east to US 54, one mile east of Park Street. The Project includes the design, construction and comprehensive maintenance of a four-lane, controlled access tolled facility from Racetrack Drive to the terminus of the existing Loop 375, in the vicinity of Santa Fe Street, a distance of approximately 5.6 miles.  The cost of the Project is approximately $525 million, excluding maintenance.

The Project will provide an alternate route for Interstate Highway 10 to address needed improvements to system capacity, reliability and regional system linkage for the El Paso metropolitan area.  Under the terms of the design-build CDA, the Developer will design and construct a four-lane controlled access facility, of which the majority is on elevated structure.  The Project includes about 5.6 miles of tolled lanes, ramps, interchanges and intersection improvements.  The Project also includes demolition of existing Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad mainline and cross-over track, and the design and construction on new alignment of approximately 10,000 feet of Union Pacific Railroad mainline track, approximately 2,000 feet of setout track and approximately one mile of Burlington Northern Santa Fe cross-over track.

The Developer will perform comprehensive maintenance services under the CDA, including routine maintenance, capital maintenance and incident management, for an initial term of five years after completion of construction.  At TxDOT’s option, the Developer’s performance of comprehensive maintenance services may be extended for up to two additional five-year terms after the initial five-year term.

The El Paso area has experienced significant growth over the past several years, resulting in increasing congestion and challenges to safety and mobility.  To address these concerns, the Project will include plans for improving regional travel and connectivity, and enhancing safety on Loop 375.  Improved access to the University of Texas at El Paso, Fort Bliss, downtown and medical centers will provide additional benefits to motorists.

The Project, which is being constructed in collaboration with the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA), is expected to break ground in early 2015 and is scheduled to be completed by fall of 2017.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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