ROADS/BRIDGES: Virginia to sign I-66 toll-lane contract with consortium

The deal includes allowing trucks to enter toll lanes

December 12, 2016
I-66 road sign
I-66 road sign

Virginia is set to sign a contract Thursday with a group of private companies promising to bring two toll lanes in each direction to Interstate 66 between the Capital Beltway and Gainesville.

The contract includes permission for the company to allow trucks to use the lanes for a higher toll through a provision added in late July.

Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said ahead of the contract signing that the ultimate decision is now up to the companies involved, presuming their designs meet noise, safety and other requirements even with trucks using the lanes. Trucks will be required to pay at least three times the toll other drivers are paying at a given time.

The selected private construction, financing and operation consortium, Express Mobility Partners, is made up of Ferrovial, a subsidiary called Cintra, Meridam and Allan Myers VA. They won the bidding over a team that included Australia-based Transurban, which operates the 95 and 495 Express Lanes.

Final designs are expected to go to public hearings in the second half of 2017 after the financial part of the deal is finalized by July. Construction is estimated to cost $2.3 billion.

The winning bid also promises that the road will be largely rebuilt before it is returned to state control in 50 years. The deal is estimated to provide the state $4.1 billion in net present value, so the companies involved are betting that tolls will top that amount over the length of the deal.

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