Spanish company lands four infrastructure projects

| 1/12/2009

Although new to the scene, a Spanish company is turning out to be a major player in the North American infrastructure market.

Grupo ACS, a U.S. subsidiary of two Spanish companies, Iridium and Dragados, has been selected to pursue four long-term infrastructure projects since June 2008 in Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Quebec, Canada.

The most recent agreement for Grupo ACS is the right to engineer the seven-mile, $700 million Mid-Currituck Bridge in North Carolina. The engineering deal could lead to ACS acquiring a public-private partnership to build and maintain the bridge for 50 years, according to the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge will connect U.S. 158 with North Carolina state Highway 12 and will be paid off through tolling. Officials are currently working out toll rates and the amounts needed to guarantee profitability to the eventual winner of the contract.

Grupo ACS and its related companies first appeared in June 2008 in Texas when Iridium partnered with U.S.-based Zachry to engineer a portion of the Trans-Texas Corridor – specifically the I-69 phase from the Mexican border to the northeast portion of the state. The contract is valued at $1.3 billion according to ACS officials.

But TxDOT announced this past week that the Trans-Texas Corridor concept was dead and would be restructured under a new plan. That called into question the future of the I-69 contract to Iridium-Zachry.

TxDOT officials had not returned a Land Line request for information at the time of this posting.

Meanwhile, Grupo ACS remains the preferred company to build and maintain 10.5 miles of I-595 in Broward County, FL. The project, announced in October 2008, includes tolled lanes that are reversible during emergencies.

Florida Department of Transportation officials are currently working on setting the toll rates on I-595. The state will retain the toll revenue and pay the investors $1.8 billion over 35 years to construct and manage the lanes, an FDOT spokeswoman previously told Land Line.

Grupo ACS has also won a contract in Canada to construct and maintain Autoroute 30, a tolled highway connector south of Montreal in the province of Quebec.

The Canadian project, also awarded in October, is a 26-mile four-lane toll road worth $1.3 billion U.S. ACS will collect tolls on Autoroute 30 until 2039.

– By David Tanner, staff writer