Georgia DOT picks three finalists to build Ga. 400 toll lanes

State transportation officials have taken another step toward building toll lanes on Ga. 400 north of the Perimeter.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced a short list of three finalists to build and operate the toll lanes. GDOT won’t pick the contractor until next year. But the announcement that Georgia has three firms interested in the work is a big step forward after the state rejected the lone finalist to build the lanes a year ago.

“We’re glad we have three qualified, competent firms,” GDOT Chief Engineer Meg Pirkle said in an interview Thursday.

GDOT plans to build 16 miles of toll lanes along Ga. 400 in Fulton and Forsyth counties. It will build two toll lanes in each direction from the North Springs MARTA station to McGinnis Ferry Road, plus one lane in each direction from McGinnis Ferry to just north of McFarland Parkway.

The project would add to metro Atlanta’s growing network of toll lanes, which includes portions of I-85 in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, I-75 and I-575 in Cherokee and Cobb counties and I-75 in Clayton and Henry counties. GDOT also plans to build toll lanes along the top half of the Perimeter.

The Ga. 400 lanes are next in line. But the project has run into problems.

GDOT initially solicited contractors last year. But the State Transportation Board rejected the lone responsive proposal because it far exceeded GDOT’s $1.7 billion budget for the project.

Since then, the agency has taken a different approach. It announced plans to seek private investment in the lanes to expand available funding. In exchange for the investment, the winning firm will set and collect tolls on Ga. 400 for 50 years. GDOT is taking a similar approach to the proposed I-285 toll lanes.

GDOT also is moving ahead with the replacement of three bridges on Ga. 400 as a prelude to building the toll lanes.

Last week, the agency announced its short list of qualified firms that will compete to build and operate the toll lanes. Each is a partnership of numerous firms involved in the financing, construction and operation of the lanes.

The finalists are:

  • Express 400 Partners, which includes ASTM North America, Shikun & Binui Concessions USA, Parsons Transportation Group, Halmar International and FCC Construccion.
  • Georgia Express Link Partners, which includes Cintra Infrastructures, Macquarie Infrastructure Developments, John Laing Limited, Arcadis U.S. and Ferrovial Construction US.
  • SR 400 Peach Partners, which includes Acciona Concessiones, Meridiam SR-400 and Stantec Consulting Services.

You can read the full list of companies here (PDF file).

GDOT has not announced a new construction schedule for the project since it reshuffled the schedule of several major projects earlier this year. The agency expects to select a contractor for the Ga. 400 lanes by next August.