(Denver, CO – November 30, 2022) – Meridiam, a global leader in sustainable infrastructure development, today announced as part of the Kiewit Meridiam Partners (KMP) consortium that the Central 70 Project, located in a major Denver transit corridor, has reached substantial completion. To celebrate the construction completion of this highway project, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Deputy and Acting Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Stephanie Pollack, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Executive Director Shoshana M. Lew, and Denver City Councilwoman Deborah Ortega gathered at a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new 4-acre park over I-70, which rejoins the historically underserved Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods that were divided by the interstate’s original construction. The event marked the culmination of CDOT’s efforts to reduce congestion, improve safety and better accommodate future growth along a vital transportation corridor.
Since construction began in the summer of 2018, a 10-mile stretch of I-70 between Brighton Boulevard and Chambers Road was completely reconstructed, adding one new Express Lane in each direction and removing a 57-year-old viaduct that had divided the surrounding neighborhoods. Construction was completed with a focus on community and sustainability. The interstate between Brighton and Colorado boulevards was lowered in order to build the 4-acre Swansea Elementary Playground Park overhead, reconnecting the Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods that were previously divided when the now-removed viaduct was built in the 1960s. The park will include a small amphitheater, a splash park, a sports field, play areas, and room for farmers markets and community events – features that were selected by community members.
“We are grateful for CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew’s leadership in spearheading needed transportation infrastructure improvements to positively impact quality of life for Denver citizens and visitors to the region,” said Jane Garvey, Global Chairman, Meridiam. “Together with our partners, we’ve brought this aging highway and a vital connection to Denver International Airport into the 21st century, rejoining communities along the way.”
To ensure sustainable environmental protections were in place during construction, KMP and its partners mitigated the impacts of construction noise and dust, closely monitoring air quality and pollutants through a comprehensive air quality monitor at Swansea Elementary School and deploying vehicles with emission controls. Additionally, up to 2,000 soil samples along the 10-mile corridor were collected to determine what soils can be reused, in accordance with all state and federal laws regarding testing and removal of contaminated soils. The planting of more than 100 trees is underway in the park.
Home to thousands of businesses, the Central 70 corridor is benefitting from reduced congestion and a safer road design, including advanced roadway technology, updated sidewalks, widened shoulders for vehicle pull-off and emergency response, more direct on- and off-ramps, and 20 new bridges. The Project also provided $2 million for affordable housing in Elyria-Swansea and $100,000 in fresh food access. Approximately one-fifth of the project workforce included residents from 13 ZIP codes adjacent to the Project.
“We are proud to welcome the local Denver community to experience this beautiful park and revitalized I-70 highway, both of which were made possible through innovative and sustainable development processes that are core to Meridiam’s investment and project management DNA,” said Nicolas Rubio, Meridiam Chief Executive Officer, Americas. “We want Central 70 to serve as a blueprint for the development of community-centric, environmentally and socially responsible highways across the nation.”
KMP will operate and maintain the roadway for the next 30 years as part of its public-private partnership (P3) with CDOT. Meridiam is a 60% equity provider to the project, with Kiewit Development Company providing the other 40% equity provider and Kiewit Infrastructure Co. serving as the design build contactor. In addition to lead partners Meridiam and Kiewit, the key KMP team members include design lead WSP and operator Jorgensen.
Central 70 joins Meridiam’s U.S. project portfolio which includes Transform 66 Express Lanes Outside the Beltway (Virginia), North Tarrant Expressway (Texas), Port of Miami Tunnel, and LaGuardia Airport Terminal B, among others. As a leader in sustainable investment and asset management, Meridiam has delivered over $75 billion in total investment across more than 100 infrastructure projects globally, 20 of which are located in North America, making Meridiam an established, long-term partner of choice to the public sector.