Lawsuit stymieing Alaska bridge PPP dropped

Major Anchorage PPP can move forward after the city was reassured that the bridge project will not hinder business at the Port of Anchorage.

Legal wrangling surrounding a major transportation public-private partnership (PPP) in Anchorage, Alaska, ended when the Port of Anchorage consented to the project.

The $715 million Knik Arm Crossing development, a 2.7-mile toll road bridge that would link Anchorage to Port Mackenzie, prompted a lawsuit by the city of Anchorage against the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) because the city worried the bridge would cause “irreparable harm” to the port.

But Friday, the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA), an agency established to develop the bridge, announced the city had withdrawn its suit amid a pledge of cooperation between KABATA and the port.

KABATA agreed to adjust the location of the bridge so that the project and the port could “coexist in a narrow corridor.” Concern about the “proximity of the road to the new dry dock area” brought on the suit.

In a statement, the agency credited Anchorage mayor Don Sullivan, who had long voiced his support for the project, with helping to resolve the dispute.

The Knik Arm Crossing is a highly coveted PPP with a 35-year concession. KABATA is funding the road with an availability payment structure (APS) – a regular public payment in exchange for keeping the project in good condition.

A shortlist is expected by the end of October, with KABATA set to issue a request for proposals (RFP) next year and construction slated to begin as early as 2013. A request for qualifications (RFQ) was issued in the summer and garnered interest from six consortia. To view the full list of interested bidders, please click here

The current procurement process marks the second time Anchorage has launched a tender for the project, following an unsuccessful tender launched in 2006, which fell through due to environmental concerns.