Gov. Glenn Youngkin this week announced the start of highway construction on a 2.5-mile extension of the I-495 Express Lanes between the Dulles Corridor and the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Fairfax County, Virginia.
According to a news release from the governor's office, the I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (I-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.
Gov. Youngkin's office says the project will deliver faster and more reliable travel options, cutting travel times for express lanes users by up to 50%, 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% 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.
“495 NEXT is an important new link in the safe and modern transportation system we’re working hard to build throughout the Commonwealth,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller said in a statement. “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."
The 495 NEXT project also includes 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 storm water; 4 miles of new bicycle and pedestrian connections; funding for a new American Legion Bridge bus service connecting Virginia and Maryland.
The $660 million 495 NEXT project is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Transurban, which operates the 495, 95, and 395 Express Lanes. 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.
Full construction activities on the project could start as early as this summer. The new extended lanes are scheduled to open in 2025.
SOURCE: Office of Gov. Glenn Youngkin