LOS ANGELES -- More than $1 billion of toll road revenue bonds will be sold early next year to finance the 23-mile-long Eastern Transportation Corridor in Orange County, Calif., a finance official for the public toll way said yesterday.

The size of the negotiated issuance is "likely to be equal to or greater than" the $1.1 billion of revenue bonds sold in March 1993 for the 15-mile San Joaquin Hills toll road, which is now under construction, said Walter D. Kreutzen, executive vice president of finance and construction for the Santa Ann, Calif.-based Transportation Corridor Agencies.

The corridor agencies, a joint powers authority formed by Orange County and several cities in 1986, is overseeing construction of three public toll ways.

On Friday, a $687 million bid was received from a joint venture group for final design and construction of the Eastern Transportation Corridor.

"Now that we know the construction cost, we will be working to finalize our finance strategy with plans to issue toll revenue bonds" next spring, Kreutzen said.

Three co-senior managing underwriters were chosen earlier. They are: CS First Boston Corp., J.P. Morgan & Co., and PaineWebber Inc. One or more of the firms will be named book-running manager in November, Kreutzen said.

About $250 million of the financing will be issued in the form of variable-rate bonds secured by a letter of credit provided by agent bank Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, with additional backing from the Industrial Bank of Japan Ltd., and Credit Suisse.

Kreutzen said three firms bid for the design-build contract. Awarding a design-build contract provides a fixed-price construction cost, and a guaranteed completion date to avoid cost overruns and completion delays, he said.

The winning bid was submitted by Silverado Constructors, a joint venture. The group's lead manager is FCI Constructors of San Diego. Other participants are Wayss & Freytag AG of Frankfurt, Germany, Sukut Construction Inc. of Santa Ana, and Obayashi Corp. of Osaka, Japan.

Kreutzen said the current schedule calls for construction to begin in early 1996 and be finished by late 1999. The project includes the construction of two to three lanes in each direction plus climbing lanes and auxiliary lanes where needed.

The project also includes the construction of four toll plazas, a maintenance facility, and the Transportation Corridor Agencies' administration building.

The toll road is intended to provide an alternative for commuters who now travel the Riverside and Costa Mesa freeways. The toll way will begin at the Riverside Freeway west of Gypsum Canyon Road, travel through Gypsum Canyon toward Irvine, splitting into two legs at Santiago Canyon road. The east leg will join Interstate 5 at the Laguna Freeway; the west leg merges with Jamboree Road south of Interstate 5 in Irvine.

Besides construction of the Eastern Transportation Corridor, the project will include the building of a two-mile extension of the Foothill Transportation Corridor to connect with the EaStern Transportation Corridor. A portion of the Foothill corridor opened last year.

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