Colorado eyes private finance for tunnels

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is considering using private finance to deliver a major upgrade to the I-70 highway.

CDOT’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) has given an update on the plans, which currently consist of two options – a new viaduct, or a new tunnel – for the Floyd Hill to Veterans Memorial Tunnels initiative.

As part of a joint workshop between the HPTE and Bridge Enterprise, it was revealed that preliminary stage design is now complete, and the estimated project cost of either option has now been set at $700m.

It added that HPTE is looking at a number of different funding options for the project, including TIFIA support, toll-backed revenue bonds, and private equity.

At a hearing of the Colorado Transportation Commission, local press reported that CDOT executive director Shoshana Lew suggested the current preference is toward the viaduct option, which would avoid the potential complications of tunnelling and could prove to be cheaper.