The Jefferson Parkway, the controversial 10-mile tollway that would nearly complete the beltway around metro Denver, is set to take a big step forward this month with the selection of finalist firms to design, build and operate the road connecting Broomfield to Golden.
Thursday marks the deadline by which companies must notify the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority that they are interested in being a contender to land the $200 million project as part of a public-private partnership. The authority’s board of directors is scheduled to choose no more than three finalists Dec. 20.
“Jefferson Parkway is on the way to being built,” Bill Ray, executive director of the authority, said this week.
After the Dec. 20 selection, he said, the authority will issue a request for proposals from the three finalist firms in the spring. They will likely have until the fall of 2019 to submit responses. Construction, if all goes well, would begin in the spring of 2020.
“This is going to be a very complex document,” Ray said of the RFP. “It’s not a trivial process.”
The selection of a list of finalists that would finance, design and build the highway that would run past Rocky Mountain Regional Airport, down the east side of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge and through Arvada’s Leyden Rock neighborhood out to State Highway 93 is a significant step in what has been a decade-long process to get the road built, Ray said.
“What this says is that the marketplace is indicating its belief in the future success of the Jefferson Parkway as a public-private partnership,” he said.
The parkway, which would be a tolled road akin to the Northwest Parkway and E-470, has been the subject of multiple lawsuits over the last few years, as Superior, Golden and environmental groups have challenged it on environmental grounds. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the parkway in 2015.
The proposed project also ran into trouble with the Federal Aviation Administration last year over its proximity to the ends of runways at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.
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