Months of close collaboration and negotiation between the Commonwealth and Transurban have resulted in a deal for four transportation infrastructure projects that will create significant value for citizens and businesses throughout Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg.
The projects include:
- A 2.5-mile extension of the 495 Express Lanes north to the American Legion Bridge to reduce congestion. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Transurban have signed a Project Development Agreement for the Capital Beltway Express Lanes Northern Extension (Project NEXT), which includes direct connections with the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road. Four general-purpose (GP) lanes and two new Express Lanes will run in each direction of the Capital Beltway starting from the current terminus near the Dulles Access Road and ending at the American Legion Bridge. With no public funding by the Commonwealth, the Express Lanes network will be extended to the Maryland border, helping address one of the worst bottlenecks in the region and reduce cut-through traffic in local McLean neighborhoods;
- Addition of 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. The ramp will offer Express Lane drivers the option to exit directly onto Opitz Boulevard. Transurban will be responsible for the design, construction, maintenance, and all associated costs, creating greater accessibility for the residents and business community;
- Construction of a new southbound Occoquan auxiliary lane on I-95 in Woodbridge to address the traffic bottleneck at the Occoquan Bridge. The Occoquan Auxiliary Lane will connect the southbound Rte. 123 ramp onto I-95 with the off-ramp at westbound Prince William Parkway. The Commonwealth and Transurban have agreed the improvements will not require any compensation payment to Transurban.
VDOT is advancing required environmental studies to support these projects, and the partners will commence extensive engagement with the community and local stakeholders as they develop more detailed design plans. While the timeline for delivery of the improvements will continue to be refined, construction could begin as early as 2020.
In addition, the proposal for the Fredericksburg Extension Project (Fred Ex), a project consisting of a 10-mile extension of the 95 Express Lanes to Fredericksburg, 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, Fred Ex 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% during peak periods. Construction is planned to begin later this year with the facility opening to traffic in the fall of 2022.
In total, Transurban has committed more than $1 billion over the next five years to fund enhancements to the regional transportation network.
Source: Virginia DOT