INDIANAPOLIS -The East End Crossing of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project will be completed dramatically under budget and ahead of schedule with a public-private partnership (P3) proposal announced Friday. The Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) Board made the preliminary selection of WVB East End Partners, a team of Walsh Investors LLC, VINCI Concessions S.A.S., Bilfinger Berger PI International Holding GmbH and other regional, national and international firms.
The preferred proposal would design and build the East End Crossing for $763 million, which is 23 percent less than previous cost estimates. The proposal commits to opening the new bridge to traffic by October of 2016, compared to the original estimate of June 30, 2017.
"The most important thing for the people of southern Indiana and northern Kentucky is that the sooner these facilities are open, the sooner the fabulous benefits will begin to be accrued," Governor Mitch Daniels said during this morning's Authority meeting. "We're already seeing, now that these bridges are certain, that the level of new investment and new jobs on our side of the river is rocketing. And now that people know that the facilities will actually be there in less than four years from now, we can expect even more such interest. That's what this was always about."
Indiana is a national leader in leveraging private capital and innovations to deliver transportation infrastructure sooner than expected and at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. Governor Mitch Daniels' Major Moves highway program leased the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road in 2006 for $3.8 billion, which is being reinvested in economic development and long-term transportation infrastructure. An innovative bidding technique prompted a private design-build team replace the Milton-Madison Bridge upstream with significantly less disruption to motorists and at 20 percent less cost. In May of 2011, Daniels signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 473, which allows P3s for future transportation projects, such as the Illiana Expressway.
A public hearing will be held in accordance with state statute on Saturday, Dec. 1, so the East End Crossing can meet its aggressive procurement schedule. The IFA will publish more information next week explaining its preliminary selection, including portions of the preferred proposal. The documents will be available for public review at www.ifa.IN.gov or the IFA offices at One North Capitol Street, Suite 900, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Riverside Ballroom at the Sheraton Riverside Hotel, 700 West Riverside Drive, Jeffersonville, IN 47130. The meeting will be simulcast and comments will be accepted via video feed at the Holiday Inn Hurstbourne, 1325 Hurstbourne Parkway, Louisville, KY 40222.
The IFA Board will hold another meeting on Monday, Dec. 3, to make a final determination on the selected proposer, which is subject to Indiana Budget Committee review, before a final decision is issued by the Governor.
Indiana is responsible for completing design, overseeing construction and securing financing for the East End Crossing. The East End Bridge and approaches will complete an interstate loop around Louisville by connecting the Gene Snyder Freeway (Ky. 841) with the Lee Hamilton Highway (Ind. 265). Kentucky is responsible for the Downtown Crossing portion of the Bridges project, which will build a new I-65 northbound bridge and reconfigure nearby interchanges in downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind.
Over the past three weeks, separate review teams of IFA and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) staff independently evaluated and scored the final Technical and Financial Proposals submitted by the four short-listed contracting teams. The proposals from all four teams were responsive based upon pass-fail criteria in the Request for Proposals (RFP).
The criteria that the IFA and Indiana Department of Transportation used to evaluate the final Technical and Financial Proposals is listed in the final RFP published at www.IN.gov/ifa/2331.htm. More information about the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project may be found at www.kyinbridges.com or www.bridgesauthority.com.