DENVER – Kiewit Meridiam Partners has been selected to lead the development and reconstruction of much of I-70 in the Denver area that will be the largest infrastructure development in Colorado Department of Transportation history.
CDOT says that KMP was selected because its proposal came in on-budget and could cut 6 months off of construction, which is expected to take around 4 years to complete under the KMP proposed schedule. The project is expected to cost around $1.2 billion.
“CDOT sought a partner that would deliver Central 70 on budget, on time and with technical excellence and innovation,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT’s executive director. “Kiewit Meridiam Partners has demonstrated that they can meet this challenge while minimizing impacts to those who travel, work and live along I-70.”
KMP is comprised of Kiewit Infrastructure Co., which is an equity member and the project’s lead contractor, Meridiam Infrastructure North America Fund (also an equity member), WSP and Jacobs Engineering (which will lead engineering of the project), and Ray Jorgensen Associated, which will be the lead operator on the project.
KMP beat out proposals from a shortlist of three other teams chosen in 2015: 5280 Connectors, Front Range Mobility Group and I-70 Mile High Partners.
Bhatt said CDOT felt KMP was able to address some of the concerns from the Globeville and Swansea neighborhoods that have led to a federal lawsuit over the project, which is still pending.
Bhatt said among the first things KMP plans to do after the contract is finalized is to renovate Swansea Elementary School, among other early planning actions.
He said KMP had committed to hiring a minimum of 20 percent of the crew’s workforce from the Denver area and to giving $1 million to a fund meant for student scholarships and community efforts.
KMP’s proposal would remove a decades-old viaduct that has caused issues with groundwater, and lower the freeway between Brighton and Colorado boulevards. A 4-acre park will go in over a portion of the lowered highway.
Ten miles of I-70 will be rebuilt from downtown Denver eastward, and an express lane will be added to both east- and westbound lanes between I-25 and Chambers Road.
After the construction project is completed, KMP will oversee operations and maintenance of Central 70, as the project has been dubbed, for the remainder of the 30-year period.
CDOT and KMP are expected to begin negotiations on the final contract in coming weeks and are expected to close the deal by the end of the year. Construction is expected to get underway next spring.
“The Kiewit Meridiam Team, including our local business and labor partners, are honored to be selected to deliver this important project,” said Vice President of the Kiewit Infrastructure Group Joe Wingerter.
“The neighborhoods have been extremely patient throughout this process. Now the time has come for this transportation system upgrade. One that will enhance the quality of life, as well as strengthen the region in a sustainable and environmentally friendly matter—kindling overdue opportunities for these neighborhoods, the region and the state of Colorado,” he continued.
KMP has operated in Colorado for 70 years, according to the company, and has worked on several major projects, including the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel, the T-REX highway project, and the replacement of the Pecos Street bridge over I-70.
CDOT has said it expects crews will only fully close the highway during construction overnight during the project. Seventeen businesses and nearly five-dozen homes are expected to be demolished, and more than 4,000 jobs are expected to be created during construction.
But opponents of the projects have slammed it, saying it will destroy the neighborhoods. And the lawsuit over the project still is ongoing, though officials say they will continue planning and finalizing the contract while it is still in the courts.