VDOT News - Northern Virginia
Macaulay Porter - Office of the Virginia Governor
Michelle Holland - Virginia Department of Transportation
Tanya Sheres - Transurban North America
March 14, 2022
Governor Youngkin Announces I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension Construction to Begin
Virginia officials and project partners mark milestone at groundbreaking ceremony; new express lanes extension to bring congestion relief, new transit options, and economic benefits
TYSONS, VA - Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced the start of construction on a two-and-a-half-mile extension of the express lanes on Interstate 495 between the Dulles Corridor and the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Fairfax County. Governor Youngkin was joined by Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller, state and local officials, and Transurban—Virginia’s project partner and operator of the 495, 95 and 395 Express Lanes—at a groundbreaking ceremony to officially kick off construction on the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project. The latest extension of Virginia’s 90+-mile express lanes network planned for Northern Virginia, the project will provide new travel options, reduce congestion, support new transit services, and minimize cut-through traffic in residential communities.
“The 495 NEXT project represents the Commonwealth’s commitment to improving regional infrastructure and traffic flow for Virginians, our visitors, and the broader business community,” said Governor Youngkin. “Together with our partners from the public and private sectors, we are prioritizing investments in Virginia’s transportation network to keep people, goods, and our economy moving.”
“495 NEXT is an important new link in the safe and modern transportation system we’re working hard to build throughout the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller. “This extension to our express lanes system will provide needed relief for a highly congested portion of the Capital Beltway, providing major benefits to the greater region. This regional approach is crucial to solving our transportation challenges, and through close coordination with our partners in Maryland, Virginia’s 495 NEXT project will be built to connect and complement future improvements in the Capital Region.”
The 495 NEXT project will add two new dynamically tolled express lanes in each direction, including new connections at the Dulles Corridor and the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchanges. The project will deliver faster and more reliable travel options, cutting travel times for express lanes users by up to 50 percent, including for HOV 3+ and transit riders who can travel the lanes toll-free. It will also improve safety in the corridor by reducing crashes by an estimated 20 percent and limiting cut-through traffic in residential communities. The project is estimated to generate more than $880 million in economic benefits and 6,300 jobs.
The 495 NEXT project includes additional benefits and features such as:
- Replacement or rehabilitation of seven bridges
- Replacement of nine existing noise walls and the construction of one new noise wall
- Environmental commitments to improve streams and manage stormwater
- Four miles of new bicycle and pedestrian connections
- Funding for new American Legion Bridge bus service connecting Virginia and Maryland
“Despite unprecedented times and a global pandemic, VDOT and its partners have remained focused on advancing this critically important public-private partnership project for the region and the Commonwealth,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “We are proud of the hard work and collaboration that made today’s milestone possible, and look forward to getting to work on delivering these important improvements.”
“495 NEXT expands the benefits of faster and more reliable travel to more drivers in the region,” added Pierce Coffee, President of Transurban North America. “We know at Transurban that regional mobility is strengthened when the public and private sectors come together and we are seeing another strong example of that marking today’s milestone.”
The $660 million 495 NEXT project is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Transurban. Financial close was reached on February 28, 2022 with Transurban securing financing for the project composed of a mix of equity and debt, including loans through the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.
In October 2021, VDOT and Transurban executed a comprehensive agreement for the 495 NEXT project, and Transurban selected Lane Construction as the design-build contractor for the project after a competitive selection process. In July 2021, VDOT completed more than three years of environmental study and evaluation for the project by receiving a “Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI),” from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Park Service (NPS). Additionally, VDOT received approval from FHWA on the project’s interchange justification report, a traffic study that includes analysis of traffic impacts and benefits associated with the 495 NEXT project.
In the coming months, the 495 NEXT team will continue to refine and finalize the project’s design details, while crews continue early exploratory field activities such as surveying and begin to mobilize for full construction activities, which could start as early as this summer. The partners continue to work with communities and travelers to reduce impacts both on and off the road, and are planning to have a public information meeting (with both virtual and in-person formats) in spring 2022, before full construction activities begin. The new extended lanes are scheduled to open in 2025.
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