Chesapeake VA closes on $303m borrowing for Dominion Boulevard toll upgrade
2012-11-20: The City of Chesapeake closed this week on nearly $303m of borrowings to finance a major bridge replacement over the South Branch of the Elizabeth River designated as the Intra Coastal Waterway plus upgrade of nearly 4 miles of approach road on Dominion Boulevard US17. The City which has operated the tolled Chesapeake Expressway since 2001 is within a week or so of selecting of a construction firm for the Dominion Boulevard project from eleven bids received in response to a RFP in September.
(The project is a traditional design, bid, build project.)
Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff called the financing "a significant accomplishment" and said the toll financing "marks a major step forward as we improve and build Chesapeake’s transportation infrastructure."
The City now hopes to have a contract for the Dominion Blvd by December and to 'break ground' early 2013 for an opening of the new facility in early 2017. Toll systems will be subcontracted by the construction company according to specifications in the contract, and it will be up to that company to seek proposals or contract with TransCore, the City's existing toll provider for the Chesapeake Expressway.
Tolling will use E-ZPass and be all-electronic. That saves on $10m to $20m for a toll plaza and on the operating costs of toll collectors and cash handling.
The project is 2x2 lanes expressway standard and carries US17 southwest from VA168 here known as the Great Bridge Boulevard. This is quite close to the interchange of I-64, I-464 and VA168.
Project cost was estimated at $468m before bids were sought.
This covers four miles of new 2x2 lane expressway, four interchanges and the bridge. The bridge - to replace an old lift bridge - will be of twin spans, providing 3 lanes each direction over water.
It will be 95ft high and have a clearance of 65ft over water. The main span will be about 225ft and is designed as concrete bulb-T girder. (CORRECTION)
Tolls for cars will start at $1.00 with a transponder and $3 for license plate lookup tolls.
Toll revenue is forecast to be $10m in the bridge's second year and to get to $20m/year by 2028.
Traffic on the existing 2 lane road and lift bridge is 33,000 vehicles/day.
The financing this week was split about equally between toll revenue bonds and a subordinate loan from the state's infrastructure bank. The bonds costing 4.599% had been rated BBB by Standard and Poors and Fitch and were oversubscribed. They were secured to the total revenues of the City's full toll system, not just the Dominion Boulevard project.
That brings into play the Chesapeake Expressway VA168 which is tolled in itsosuthern segment leading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The City is refinancing some outstanding Chesapeake Expressway debt at current low interest rates. The infra-bank loan, the first since the state bank's recent founding, is at 3.33% interest.
Citigroup Global Markets was the lead underwriter for the bonds.
BB&T Capital Markets and Public Financial Management were the City's financial advisers. Steer
Davies Gleave did traffic and revenue forecasting. Parsons Brinkerhoff is the project engineer.
TOLLROADSnews 2012-11-20 CORRECTIONS Wed Nov 21 11:30