MDOT to gauge interest in public-private partnerships

Contact: Contact Jeff Cranson, MDOT Director of Communications 517-648-8247
Agency: Transportation


July 25, 2013 -- Seeking innovative ways to finance, build, operate and maintain public infrastructure, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is reaching out to businesses and other entities for their ideas and interest in forming public-private partnerships (P3s). Initial proposed P3 projects include two rest areas, freeway lighting, bridge work and timber management.

Today MDOT formally issued requests for "letters of interest" from the private sector regarding several proposed P3 projects. The requests for letters of interest can be found at Mid-August is the deadline for responses.

"This is an information-gathering stage, the first step to starting a conversation about what's possible in financing and building infrastructure," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "We're looking for innovations that will save taxpayer dollars, improve service and efficiency, and enhance public safety."

The two rest areas proposed for P3 projects are the Higgins Lake and Houghton Lake facilities along US-127 in Roscommon County. MDOT is seeking feedback from entities that would be interested in providing improvements or services at one or both of the rest areas.

Regarding freeway lighting, MDOT has proposed three P3 alternatives that vary in scope. The three are:
-- The entire state freeway lighting system – about 18,400 lights, excluding rest areas and other facility lighting.
-- Freeway lighting in Detroit and Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties – about 80 percent of the state freeway lighting system.
-- Freeway tunnel lighting on I-696 in Oakland County and on M-10 underneath Cobo Center in Detroit.

Any freeway lighting P3 project would be expected to improve the current lighting infrastructure, enhance safety, save energy and create efficiencies.

Two alternatives are being considered for bridge P3 projects. They are:
-- Replacing the I-75 bridge decks over Fort Street and the Rouge River in Detroit.
-- Reconstructing bridges in four highway corridors: I-94, from I-96 to Conner Avenue in Detroit; I-75, from M-102 to M-59 in Oakland County; I-94, from Elm Road to US-127 in Jackson County; and I-94, from Euclid Avenue to US-31 in Berrien County. These are currently large corridor projects for which MDOT is actively seeking alternate means of project delivery while still administering the Five-Year Transportation Program.

On the bridge projects, a private sector developer would have a long-term contract to finance, design, construct and maintain the bridges. Bridges would be expected to last 100 years by using innovative technologies and materials such as carbon fiber composite cables. Accelerated bridge construction techniques would minimize disruption to motorists.

The timber management P3 projects would thin out selected forested areas along four highway corridors to sustain and improve forest conditions. The four corridors are:
-- US-2 (128 miles) in the Upper Peninsula
-- I-75 (134 miles) in the northern Lower Peninsula
-- US-127 (78 miles) in Clare, Gratiot and Isabella counties
-- US-131 (51 miles) in Kent, Mecosta and Montcalm counties

MDOT's requests for letters of interest are only inquiries, and no contracts or agreements will be entered into as a result of this process.

After MDOT evaluates the responses to the requests for letters of interest, subsequent steps in the P3 process would be requests for qualifications and requests for proposals.

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