Private funding accelerated the start of the $268 million El Paso Inner Loop, Spur 601 Project, which will improve access to Fort Bliss and El Paso, including international ports of entry to the region. The El Paso Master Transportation Plan reports this northeastern area has one of the highest growth rates in the city. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense will increase troop size at nearby Fort Bliss by 50,000 in association with Base Realignment and Closure activities.
J.D. Abrams of Austin will finance, design and build the 7.4-mi-long Inner Loop, which will connect U.S. Route 54 to the Purple Heart Memorial Highway (Loop 375). It is the state’s first private-sector, pass-through toll-financing agreement.
TxDOT has invested $45 million in traditional highway construction funds. The El Paso International Airport contributed $10 million. And J.D. Abrams will finance the remaining $213 million using tax-exempt bonds.
The state will reimburse the company from Strategic Priority funds, based on the volume of traffic the highway generates, up to $350 million over 20 years, with a maximum amount per year not to exceed $35 million. The state will not collect tolls.
Work began work in August on Spur 601, with construction scheduled to wrapup in January 2011. During construction of Segment A, from the Airport Road/Sergeant Major Boulevard Interchange to Loop 375, Abrams will design and construct a four-lane road, with inside and outside shoulders expandable to six lanes. Texas turnarounds, or U-turns, will be provided at each interchange.
In Segment B, from U.S. 54 to the Airport Road/Sergeant Major Boulevard Interchange, Abrams will build six lanes, entrance and exit ramps, a service road from U.S. 54 to Chaffee Road and one-way frontage roads from Chaffee Road to Airport Road/Sergeant Major Interchange. It also will widen the Broaddus Street overpass to create a more desirable weave and merge between the direct connectors and the U.S. 54 main lanes.
The project includes installation of a traffic management system and traffic signals.