Northern Virginia Highways Projects Announced
In all, Transurban has committed more than $1 billion over the next five years to fund enhancements to the regional transportation network.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced the state has signed agreements with private partner Transurban, one of the world's largest toll-road operators, that cover four infrastructure projects on Interstate 495 and Interstate 95 in northern Virginia. Months of negotiation between the two parties finalized the deal. "My administration is committed to creating opportunity for Virginia families and businesses in every corner of the Commonwealth, and that requires having a safe, reliable transportation network," Northam said. "I am pleased to announce these four projects that will bring significant improvements to I-495 and I-95, easing congestion, enhancing safety, and driving economic growth."
The projects are:
- A 2.5-mile extension of the 495 Express Lanes north to the American Legion Bridge to reduce congestion. The Virginia Department of Transportation and Transurban have signed a Project Development Agreement for the Capital Beltway Express Lanes Northern Extension, which includes direct connections with the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road.
- Adding a new, reversible ramp connecting the existing 95 Express Lanes at Opitz Boulevard to provide improved access to Potomac Mills and Sentara Virginia Medical Center. Transurban will be responsible for the design, construction, maintenance, and all associated costs.
- Construction of a new southbound Occoquan auxiliary lane on I-95 in Woodbridge, Va., to address a traffic bottleneck at the Occoquan Bridge. The parties have agreed these improvements will not require any compensation payment to Transurban.
"Transurban has a long history of working with the Commonwealth to collaboratively solve major transportation challenges," said Transurban President Jennifer Aument. "With expanded capacity and new connections to commuter routes and commercial centers, we are committed to delivering transportation solutions that keep travelers moving faster and safer throughout northern Virginia."
VDOT is advancing required environmental studies to support the projects. According to the governor's office, the timeline for delivery of the improvements will continue to be refined, but construction could begin as early as 2020.
The proposal for the Fredericksburg Extension Project, a project consisting of a 10-mile extension of the 95 Express Lanes to Fredericksburg, Va., also has been finalized and is on track for commercial close this spring. "Since the project was initially announced in January 2018, contract negotiations, a competitive design-build procurement, and more favorable financing options have advanced the deal, enabling Transurban to deliver to the Commonwealth a payment of between $54 to 98 million to fund additional transportation improvements depending on final teams of TIFIA, a low interest federal loan. In addition to the existing three general purpose lanes, [the project] will provide two reversible Express Lanes of new capacity, which will be available at no charge to HOV 3+ and transit riders. The project is expected to increase capacity on this section of I-95 by 66 percent during peak periods. Construction is planned to begin later this year with the facility opening to traffic in the fall of 2022," the governor's news release stated.
"These negotiations have resulted in a more than $1 billion investment in transportation infrastructure in these vital regions of Virginia," Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine said. "Working collaboratively, we are delivering on our commitment to reduce congestion, improve safety, and increase reliability for those we serve."
In all, Transurban has committed more than $1 billion over the next five years to fund enhancements to the regional transportation network. Competitive design-build procurements are being used to ensure best value for the state's taxpayers.