Governor McDonnell Announces Contract to Build 95 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia
– VDOT reaches comprehensive agreement and financial close with private-sector companies to deliver I-95 HOV/HOT lanes project –
WASHINGTON, DC - Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) entered into a comprehensive agreement and reached financial close with a group of private-sector companies to build approximately 29 miles of express lanes on I-95 from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to Edsall Road in Fairfax County. Construction will begin on the $925 million project early next month.
"This is a historical day for transportation and the economy in Virginia," said Governor McDonnell. "In partnering with the private sector, VDOT is leveraging nearly $1 billion dollars in congestion relief for the heavily traveled Northern Virginia region. Virginia is taking bold action to move more people with fewer cars by giving them more transportation choices that will save time and money, and improve the environment. The project will also support nearly 8,000 jobs over the construction period and stimulate $2 billion in economic activity."
VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley, in cooperation with the Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships, executed a comprehensive agreement and reached financial close with 95 Express Lanes LLC (a joint venture between Transurban DRIVe and Fluor Enterprises, Inc.). The agreement, signed under the Public-Private Transportation Act, allows VDOT to partner with 95 Express, which will make a substantial investment in the project and share in the financial risk of construction and operations. The agreement sets the framework for a long-term business relationship. Construction is expected to begin in 2012 and be completed by late 2014.
The project will expand and improve the existing HOV lanes from Dumfries to Edsall Road and extend new HOV lanes from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road, resulting in 29 miles of express lanes in which vehicles with three or more people can use for free. Vehicles with fewer than three passengers can choose to pay a toll to use express lanes or they can ride the general purpose lanes for free.
"The 95 Express Lanes combined with the nearly completed 495 Express Lanes will bring a transportation network that manages congestion efficiently, saving time and better connecting commuters with some of Virginia's most important employment centers and military sites," said Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton.
Whirley added, "The project will bring transportation choices to commuters traveling to and from the Northern Virginia region. For the first time, commuters will have HOV access on I-95 from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road. North of Dumfries, the existing HOV lanes will be improved, resulting in better services for existing carpoolers and congestion relief."
Under the comprehensive agreement, VDOT will maintain ownership of the infrastructure and oversee 95 Express' activities. 95 Express will finance, build, operate and maintain the facility for a 76-year concession period. 95 Express will also assume risk of delivering the project on a performance-based, fixed-price, fixed-date contract, protecting users and taxpayers from cost overruns and delays.
"Virginia has again demonstrated its leadership in using innovative public-private partnerships to help deliver major transportation and economic outcomes," said Michael Kulper, president, Transurban North America. "The 95 Express Lanes will link directly to the new 495 Express Lanes to provide travelers throughout the region with faster and more predictable travel."
The key components of construction include:
- Extending nine miles of existing HOV lanes from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road in Stafford County, which alleviate one of the region's worst traffic back ups
- Expanding existing HOV lanes from two to three lanes for 14 miles between Prince William Parkway to vicinity of Edsall Road on I-395
- Making operational improvements to the existing two HOV lanes for six miles from Route 234 to Prince William Parkway
- Adding eight new or improved access points to and from HOV/HOT network at key interchanges
- Expanding and adding commuter parking lots
Financial and tolling highlights:
- Project will cost $925 million with 95 Express providing $854 million in funding. This includes an anticipated TIFIA loan of $300 million, which is expected to be available in November 2012
- VDOT will provide $71 million in public funds, a lower amount than the original estimate of $97 million, due to lower-than-expected financing costs at closing.
- Tolls will be collected electronically using E-ZPass, including the new E-ZPass Flex, eliminating the need for toll booths
- HOV-3+, vanpools, motorcycles and buses travel free. Vehicles with one or two people will pay a toll to use the express lanes or ride the general purpose lanes for free. Tolls will vary based on real-time traffic conditions to manage the number of toll-paying customers who choose to enter the express lanes. Most customers are expected to pay to use express lanes only a couple of times a week when they need a faster trip, with a typical trip during rush hour costing between $5 and $6.
- Project will fund a safety and enforcement program including crews to assist disabled vehicles, incident detection technology and more Virginia State Police. The program is expected to significantly reduce HOV violators.
Park and ride lots:
- Alongside the 95 Express Lanes, VDOT is delivering new commuter lots, expanding existing lots, and improving access at a number of park and ride lots located in the I-95 corridor.
- In 2012, there will be an additional 600 spaces at the Saratoga/EPG park and ride lot in Fairfax County and 700 spaces at the Telegraph Road-Old PRTC bus garage park and ride lot in Prince William County.
- By end of 2014, there will be 1,000 spaces at Staffordboro Boulevard in Stafford County and 1,000 spaces in Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County at Gordon Road. A new 1,000-space garage will be constructed along with the new Potomac Nationals Stadium at Stonebridge in Prince William County.
Go to http://www.vamegaprojects.com/ for more project information. Information is also available at http://www.95expresslanes.com/
The comprehensive agreement and exhibits will be posted by Aug. 7, 2012.
# # #