- The Virginia DOT and infrastructure developer and operator Transurban have come to an agreement for the I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project, according to a VDOT press release.
- Valued at $600 million overall, the project will extend the expressway going north by 2 and a half miles and add connections to Dulles International Airport and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The project will allegedly generate an estimated 6,300 jobs and $880 million in economic impact, according to the release.
- The state DOT chose Cheshire, Connecticut-based firm Lane Construction to perform the design-build work. Along with the highway extension, plans in the 495 NEXT project include a new Virginia/Maryland bus service, seven bridge replacements and environmental improvements on existing infrastructure, according to the release.
The 495 NEXT project isn't just a highway extension — it's also an investment in critical multimodal infrastructure. As part of the project, Virginia is providing $5.2 million to help launch a new bus service over the American Legion Bridge, and Transurban will provide $2.2 million annually to operate it. The project also includes construction of bicycle and pedestrian connections along the 495 NEXT corridor, according to the release.
"495 NEXT provides for a future regional managed lanes network that will help solve the region's congestion and improve quality of life," said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich in the release.
Transurban's involvement along I-495 didn't begin with the NEXT project. The Melbourne, Australia-based company, along with Irving, Texas-based contractor Fluor, were involved in another public-private partnership on the Capital Beltway Program, a project VDOT called "the largest capital improvement project in a generation" according to the Virginia P3 website. The project featured four new lanes, fully automated toll stations and more. The project opened in November 2012.
Lane Construction has experience working with highway construction, having previously worked on the Poinciana Parkway Project in Osceola County, Florida, and the I-85 Phase III project in Cherokee, South Carolina, among others.
Construction on the 495 NEXT project will start in 2022, according to the release. The new extended lanes are scheduled to open in 2025.