Virginia 95/395 HOT Lanes to take longer in planning
By Peter Samuel
Virginia DOT says the I-95/395 HOT Lanes concession project will not go to financial close this month as planned because of difficult capital market conditions and the need for more analysis and negotiation of project details. The postponement is officially announced in a 2-page letter from VDOT chief engineer Malcolm Kerley to officials in northern Virginia.
Going to financial close this month would have involved leaving unresolved local government concerns about access and egress to the project. Extra time is needed VDOT says to look further at the traffic impacts of the Pentagon's base reorganization (known as BRAC). There are a string of huge military installations in the corridor.
"There is very significant work underway to address the traffic impacts of BRAC and other new developments at Seminary Road and to minimize or eliminate local traffic impacts at the Shirlington rotary. Better understanding of the local impacts and operationsal issues at Eads Road will require more time and analysis... Development of capacity and access improvements (for enhanced bus) at Shirlington or Seminary Road will not proceed until this consultative process is completed."
Kerley says the approved environmental document may need to re-evaluated or supplemented as a result of these planning efforts.
The concession is held 90% Transurban, 10% Fluor.
Transurban is making no comment. But it is clear they agree with VDOT that the project is not ripe for a financial close and fully support giving more time to project development.
BACKGROUND: 94km, 56 miles long the 95/395 HOT Lanes project will convert and extend and existing 2-lane reversible HOV facility into 3 lanes HOV-free, others tolled, while adding new access and egress points and building park-&ride facilities for bus rapid transit.
To be built in two stages the 95/395 project goes from the Pentagon alongside the bridges from DC down I-395 to Springfield, then on down I-95 to beyond Fredericksburg.
Meanwhile Transurban and Fluor are going gangbusters on reconstruction and widening of 19km (14 miles) of the Capital Beltway (I-495) between Springfield and the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons Corner. Work on widening the 8-lane road from 8 to 12 travel lanes is underway on virtually the whole length of the Beltway in which Transurban will hold a toll concession on the central 4 lanes.