Indiana toll operator announces $250 million widening project

| 10/4/2006

The private operator of the Indiana Toll Road has announced that the first improvement project under its control will be constructed in Lake County by a construction partnership with close ties to its foreign parent company.

Indiana Toll Road Concession Co. of Granger, IN, a subsidiary of the Spanish-Australian consortium Cintra-Macquarie, will widen a 10-mile stretch of the toll road in Lake County to three lanes in each direction, beginning next spring.

Construction on the $250 million project will be completed by 2010, the operator announced.

ITR Concession has leased the 157-mile toll road from the state of Indiana, paying $3.85 billion upfront for the right to collect tolls and maintain the road for 75 years. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the lease agreement at the end of June.

ITR Concession didn’t have to go far to find a construction company for the road-widening project, contracting with Ferrovial Agroman Indiana, based in Portage, IN, and Rieth-Reilly Construction Co. of Goshen, IN.

Ferrovial Agroman is owned by Grupo Ferrovial, a parent company from Spain that also owns Cintra.

The Ferrovial name appears in numerous construction and toll companies spanning Europe and has shown up recently in North America.

The toll operator is also in the process of installing electronic tolling along the entire route, which will allow motorists and truckers to enter and exit the toll road without having to stop their vehicles. A billing system is being established so drivers can obtain transponders and have toll fares debited to an account or credit card.

Tolls for heavy trucks will increase to $32 by 2009 from their current level of $14.85.

The lease then requires the toll operator to hold future increases to the rate of inflation.

– By David Tanner, staff writer