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Project Profile: Northwest Parkway

Northwest Parkway

photo credit: Northwest Parkway


Denver Metro Region, Colorado

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority

Program Areas

Public Private PartnershipsTolling and PricingValue Capture

Value Capture Techniques Asset Recycling

Toll Highway


The Northwest Parkway is an 8.9-mile toll road that connects E-470 in the northern Denver metropolitan area to just before U.S. 36 in Broomfield, Colorado. The Parkway is one segment of the Denver Beltway system, which includes E-470 and C-470. The Parkway comprises four lanes, 26 structures, three major interchanges, four ramp plazas, and four mainline toll plazas.

The Parkway was developed by the Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority, a joint powers authority formed in 1999 that continued earlier work by a nonprofit entity seeking to connect communities in the northwest Denver metro area to I-25 and U.S. 36, providing better access to jobs and commercial establishments. The project was locally financed with toll revenue bonds and opened in 2003, but with traffic volumes less than forecast, a decision to lease the facility to a private consortium was made, prompted initially by an unsolicited proposal received in 2006.

A 99-year, long-term lease agreement with Northwest Parkway LLC to operate and maintain the toll road in exchange for the right to retain the toll proceeds was executed in August 2007. An upfront payment consisting of cash, the assumption of existing debt, and an annual administrative fee to the Authority to be paid over the life of the lease, was primarily used to defease the toll road's debt. A portion of it was placed into escrow pending a notice to proceed if issued by the end of 2018 to extend the Parkway 2.3 miles south over U.S. 36 to SH 128 in Broomfield, as well as notice to proceed to extend the Parkway 15 miles further southwest from there to SH 93 at 64th Avenue in Arvada. Release of the funds in escrow to the Authority is also possible if the two extensions are completed by the end of 2020. In both cases, the concessionaire must also contribute another $60 million to the construction of the extensions.


$416 million (original construction; design-build contract - $191 million)

$603 million (total potential administrative concession value, YOE)

  • Assumption of Authority's debt
    • $303 million (including $50 million cash payment ["rent"])
    • $200 million (administrative fees over life of lease paid annually [annual payment = $263,200 adjusted for inflation])
  • Commitments contingent upon Parkway extensions
    • $40 million (placed in escrow)
    • $60 million (additional commitment)
Funding Sources

Original construction

  • Toll revenue bonds - $416 million

Long-term lease financing

  • Senior bank debt - $459 million
    • 10-year term loan - $249 million
    • 11-year equity bridge - $60 million
    • 10-year liquidity facility - $150 million
  • Equity - $266.9 million
Project Delivery / Contract Method

Original construction - Design-build

Long-term Lease Concession - 2007 (99 years)

Private Partner

Original design-builder - Northwest Parkway Joint Venture

  • Kiewit Western Co.
  • Washington Group International

Concessionaire - Northwest Parkway LLC Joint Venture

  • Brisa Auto-Estradas de Portugal (90%)
  • Companhia de Concessões Rodoviárias (10%)
Project Advisors / Consultants

To Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority

  • Financial advisor - Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets
  • Legal advisor - Mayer Brown

To Northwest Parkway LLC

  • Financial advisor - ABN Amro
  • Legal advisor - Chadbourne & Parke

Lead arranger - Royal Bank of Scotland
Syndication agents

  • BNP Paribas
  • Caja Madrid
  • Caixa Geral de Depósitos
Duration / Status

Construction began June 2001

Opened to traffic November 2003

Tolling began January 1, 2004

Concessionaire's assumption of Parkway operations - November 21, 2007

Financial Status

Financial close (long-term lease) December 21, 2007

  • Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority converted the project to a concession agreement due to lower than projected toll revenues on the Parkway. Included in the terms of the concession agreement was $40 million placed in escrow to be released to the Authority to facilitate the extension of the Parkway, if it occurs by 2020. Additionally, the concessionaire is required to share revenue with the Authority after profits exceed certain levels.
Related Links / Articles

Northwest Parkway Website

Summary of Concession and Lease Agreement


Northwest Parkway LLC
Tel: (303) 533-1200


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