El Paso's next major road construction project could change the way drivers get around town, but the expected $800M price tag could be lower.
Thursday morning, the Texas Transportation Commission announced Abrams and Kiewit Joint Venture will design, construct and maintain the Border Highway West Expansion Project.
The joint group consists of J.D. Abrams and Kiewit Infrastructure South.
"We are realizing a savings," said Russell Kapalak, Chief Planning and Projects Officer.
The price tag of the entire project initially was $800 million, but Zapalak said it looks like it now could be in the $600M range.
Construction could begin as early as fall of 2014.
Zapalak said the contractor will have three years to complete the project.
There were a total of four companies who bid for the project.
The extension will connect Racetrack Drive (near Doniphan Rd.) to U.S. Highway 54 at Loop 375 in south-central El Paso, making it a circle freeway around the city.
The extension runs for nine miles and a major portion of the highway will be elevated.
Zapalak said the construction will include railroad relocation. He said this is an unusual move for this type of project.
Since the highway runs along the border, Zapalak said it would require relocation of Customs and Border Protection security cameras and lighting.
“This project is perhaps the most important for El Paso since I-10 was originally constructed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It provides a necessary alternative to I-10 and provides critical capability to manage traffic when incidents or reconstruction affect I-10," said Bob Bielek, El Paso District Engineer.
TxDoT officials called it the largest project in El Paso history, in terms of cost and complexity.