SHARECOMMENTMORE

DENVER (AP) - After sharp criticism, Colorado has announced the conclusion of a deal for a private company to help expand and maintain the main Denver-Boulder highway and collect tolls from some lanes.

The Department of Transportation says the deal was finalized Wednesday.

Plenary Roads, a consortium that includes Goldman Sachs, will contribute its own equity to the project along a stretch of US 36 owned by the state.

The company will also be responsible for maintaining and plowing it as well as a stretch of Interstate 25.

The company will be repaid over 50 years through express lane tolls.

"After years of planning and extensive input on how to accelerate improvements in this corridor, we are extremely excited to see further progress toward a more diversified, sustainable and less congested US 36 corridor", said Don Hunt, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. "The new Express Lanes, repaving and improving of the existing, free general purpose lanes, the Bus Rapid Transit and new commuter bike path options will offer commuters more choice and reliability, as well as support continued economic growth of the US 36 corridor."

Opponents, some of whom were forcibly removed from a transportation commission hearing last week, have expressed concern tolls will be too high and called for more information about how the deal was struck.