One of three finalists withdraws request to build parkway

Group cites financial, environmental concerns

Casey Van Divier
cvandivier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/30/19

On Dec. 23, the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority (JPPHA) announced that one of the three teams in the running to build the parkway had withdrawn its request to do so. The Jefferson …

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One of three finalists withdraws request to build parkway

Group cites financial, environmental concerns

Posted

On Dec. 23, the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority (JPPHA) announced that one of the three teams in the running to build the parkway had withdrawn its request to do so.

The Jefferson Expressway Group (JEFFEX) sent a letter to JPPHA executive director Bill Ray saying it would like to “respectfully withdraw from the procurement” earlier in the month. JEFFEX is made up of principals Hochtief, a construction group; ACS, construction and infrastructure developers; and Flatiron Construction, a contractor.

In December 2018, the group was selected as one of three finalists vying to be the private partner that will design, construct, fund and operate the Jefferson Parkway. The proposed toll road would stretch about 10 miles through the northwest portion of Arvada, connecting state highways 93 and 128.

Along with JEFFEX, the JPPHA selected Jefferson Beltway Connection Partners and Colorado Front Range Connectors as finalists.

The private partner will not only fund future costs of the parkway but reimburse the JPPHA — which consists of Arvada, Broomfield and Jefferson County — for the funds it has spent so far, Ray has told Colorado Community Media.

The authority's primary expenses have been land acquisitions, engineering costs and litigation costs, Ray said. He added that as of December 2019, the JPPHA has contributed approximately $16 million for the parkway since 2008.

In addition to reimbursing the JPPHA, the private partner will pay to construct the road, which the JPPHA estimates would cost $250 million, plus or minus 20%, Ray said.

JEFFEX representative Roberto Friedrich wrote in the letter that, after submitting a Statement of Qualifications to build the parkway, the group continued “to advance our analysis of the technical and financial elements of the project and its underlying economic feasibility.”

Through this analysis, and based on input from traffic and financial advisers, the group felt “the project's anticipated revenue potential does not adequately support the project's costs by a sizable gap,” the letter said.

That projected gap in funding support, as well as the project's lack of public funding and “ongoing environmental challenges,” sparked the decision to withdraw, according to the letter.

JPPHA formed in 2008 in hopes of getting the parkway built, but has run into recent trouble.

In 2019, the authority announced that the selection of a private partner would be postponed until results came back from a soil study of the parkway route. The study, which showed mixed initial results, has tested for plutonium and other nuclear waste, left from the days the area was home to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, which could be disturbed by the parkway's construction.

Officials expect the soil study to be completed in early 2020, said Laura Dixon, communications manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

In its Dec. 23 statement, the JPPHA said it “plans to finalize and issue its Request for Proposals to the two shortlisted teams” after the CDPHE gives feedback on soil sample results.

“We remain with two highly qualified and dedicated teams in the procurement process and are confident that either one will do an excellent job,” Ray said.

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