The 395 Express Lanes, opened in November of 2019, are the latest in a series of critical infrastructure projects delivered through a partnership between global toll-road operator Transurban and the Virginia DOT (VDOT).
Prior to and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Transurban has continued its work for the region, including an annual $15 million payment towards I-95/395 corridor transit improvements, widening of portions of the regular I-395 travel lanes, and support of over 70 community organizations with $280,000 in grant funding.
Transurban’s annual $15 million transit payment will generate billions of dollars in public transportation investment over the course of the decades-long concession, with many funded projects already realized. The transit projects are chosen by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission through their Commuter Choice Program. The 2019 inaugural investment led to an expansion of new bus service in Stafford County, expanded DASH service to Alexandria’s West End, and funded Pentagon Commuter Store improvements.
“The Commonwealth’s partnership with Transurban to deliver the 495, 95, and 395 Express Lanes illustrates the power of public-private partnerships to develop innovative transportation solutions,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine said in a statement. “As Virginia continues to build a multimodal network, these partnerships continue to play an important role in the transformative infrastructure investments that will help the Commonwealth modernize transportation assets, meet increasing travel demand and move our economy forward.”
The 395 Express Lanes project is estimated to create more than $1 billion in economic activity and more than 8,700 jobs for the region throughout construction. The project also utilized more than $110 million worth of contracts with disadvantaged businesses and small, women- and minority-owned businesses.
In addition to the conversion of two HOV lanes to three express lanes, the $475 million project also delivered more than a dozen additional projects and improvements in the I-395 corridor, including:
- Widening of I-395 South with the addition of a fourth general purpose lane between Duke Street and Edsall Road. The elimination of this bottleneck is expected to improve travel times by 50% and reduce accidents by 18%.
- Enhancements to the South Parking Lot of the Pentagon Reservation, with the creation of new dedicated transit and carpool/slugger lanes that will enhance traffic flow, connectivity, and safety where more than 1,800 buses and about 3,400 “sluggers” on average pass through each day.
- Numerous safety and road improvements, including a long-standing challenge with the street light infrastructure on I-395, joint repair and resurfacing of more than 14 bridges, overpasses and local roads, and upgrading select barriers and guardrails throughout the corridor.