- The 21.3 kilometre concession is for 52 years.
- Managed investments total 2.350 billion euro (2.635 bUSD).
- The LBJ is the largest greenfield public-private partnership in the history of the United States.
Dallas, Texas, 10/09/2015.- Ferrovial today inaugurated the LBJ Express tollway in Dallas, Texas, which represents an investment of 2.635 billion dollars. The road, which uses cutting edge route design and technology, is located north of Dallas, in one of the most congested corridors in the United States. The inauguration was presided over by Rafael del Pino, chairman of Ferrovial; Íñigo Meirás, CEO; Mike Rawlings, mayor of Dallas, Tryon Lewis, Chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, and Gregory G. Nadeau, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration; also present were the mayors of the main cities served by the toll road, as well as other authorities from the US and Texas Departments of Transportation. Construction was completed three months ahead of schedule.
Cintra, a Ferrovial subsidiary, heads the consortium that will operate the 52-year concession for this 21.3 kilometre urban highway that passes Dallas on the north, along IH-635, between US-75 and IH-35E, and a section of interstate I-35E. Construction commenced in 2011; the road was built by Ferrovial Agroman and Webber while keeping the corridor open to traffic as existing lanes were widened and upgraded, frontage roads were kept open and new managed lanes were built.
The four shareholders of LBJ Express are Cintra (51% of capital), APG (26.46%), Meridiam (15.94%) and Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (6.6%). The project was funded by four sources: a Private Activity Bond issue, a TIFIA long-term loan from the US Department of Transportation, and contributions by the shareholders and Texas Department of Transportation.
The project entailed building concrete structures with a surface area as large as 120 football fields, laying 280 football fields’ equivalent of road surface, and excavating close to 7 million cubic metres of earth. It used about 100 km. of pilings and 330 km. of precast beams, and raised 320,000 square metres of walls of varying types. To achieve nine lanes in each direction, over 350 km. of lanes had to be built; one section of the road is 28 lanes wide.
Managed lanes in the US
North Tarrant Express (NTE), which was inaugurated last year, was Ferrovial’s first toll road in the US to have managed lanes. Since it has opened to traffic, the road has performed as planned. In the second quarter of 2015, there were 5 million traffic transactions, a 24% increase on the preceding quarter. The dynamic tolling system came into operation on 2 April last.
The LBJ and NTE are unique in their category since they involve a road with dynamic tolls built inside an existing highway, which was upgraded and will be operated and maintained throughout the concession period at no charge to users. Adding manager lanes (“TEXpress lanes” in Texas) doubles the road’s capacity throughout its length. Drivers can opt between the free lanes or the new lanes, paying a toll that varies throughout the day as a function of traffic conditions in the corridor. Traffic speeds on the toll lanes are guaranteed to be at least 50 miles per hour (about 80 kph).
Sensors installed along the road constantly relay information about conditions (traffic, weather, congestion, etc.), enabling tolls to be re-set every five minutes. In this way, prices vary to adapt to conditions on the corridor at any given time in order to enhance traffic flows.
All entrances and exits between the managed lanes and the general lanes and frontage roads are clearly signposted to guide drivers safely. Tolls are announced sufficiently in advance to give drivers time to decide whether to choose the managed lanes or remain on the general lanes. The system ensures that the driver maintains the price at which he/she entered the managed lane, even if the toll is changed subsequently.
With over 6.6 million inhabitants, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW) contains one-quarter of the total population of Texas and is the largest metropolitan area in the state and the fourth-largest in the US. In economic terms, DFW is one of the richest areas in the US and ranks tenth worldwide. Over 10,000 companies have their head offices in the area, including 21 Fortune 500 corporations, such as American Airlines, Exxon Mobil, AT&T, Fluor, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, JC Penney and Kimberly-Clark. As for leisure, Dallas has more restaurants and shops per capita than New York. Dallas/Fort-Worth airport is the third-largest in the US.
Cintra is one of the world’s leading private sector developers of transportation infrastructure in terms of the number of projects and the volume of investment. It currently manages 2,100 kilometres of toll roads in 28 concessions in Canada, the US, Australia, Colombia and Europe. Cintra is the largest shareholder in the 407 ETR concessionaire, in Ontario, Canada, with a stake of 43.23%.
In 2014, 19% of Cintra’s revenues came from the US. Of Cintra’s 28 concessions worldwide, six are located in the United States. North Tarrant Express, LBJ Express and SH 130 (Texas), and Chicago Skyway (Illinois) are currently operational. I-77 (North Carolina) and NTE 35W (Texas) are under development.
Ferrovial is one of the world’s leading infrastructure operators and municipal services companies, committed to developing sustainable solutions. The company has 69,000 employees and a presence in over 25 countries. Its main business areas are: Services, Toll Roads, Construction and Airports. It is a member of Spain’s blue-chip IBEX 35 index and is also included in prestigious sustainability indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good.
LBJ Express in figures
|Number of lanes||9 each way|
|Open to traffic||2015|
|Concession term||52 years (until 2061)|
|Managed investment||2.635 billion dollars|