Construction starts on I-495 express lanes extension
$660M project set to be completed in 2025
Virginia and Transurban North America officials held a groundbreaking Monday for the $660 million extension of the Interstate 495 express lanes in Fairfax County, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced.
The 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project is occurring on a 2.5-mile stretch between the Dulles Corridor and the George Washington Memorial Parkway and will add tolled express lanes in each direction. The project is estimated to generate more than $880 million in economic benefits and 6,300 jobs.
“The 495 NEXT project represents the commonwealth’s commitment to improving regional infrastructure and traffic flow for Virginians, our visitors and the broader business community,” Youngkin said in a statement. “Together with our partners from the public and private sectors, we are prioritizing investments in Virginia’s transportation network to keep people, goods and our economy moving.”
The project is designed to reduce congestion, support new transit services and minimize cut-through traffic in residential communities. It’s estimated to cut express lanes users’ travel times by up to 50% and reduce crashes by 20%.
Its scope includes the replacement or rehabilitation of seven bridges, replacement of nine noise walls and construction of another, environmental commitments to manage stormwater, four miles of bicycle and pedestrian construction and funding for new American Legion Bridge bus service connecting Virginia and Maryland.
Transurban, an Australian company with North American operations based in Falls Church, is Virginia’s private partner and operator of the interstates 495, 95 and 395 express lanes.
“495 NEXT expands the benefits of faster and more reliable travel to more drivers in the region,” Transurban North America President Pierce Coffee said in a statement. “We know at Transurban that regional mobility is strengthened when the public and private sectors come together and we are seeing another strong example of that marking today’s milestone.”
Transurban and the Virginia Department of Transportation completed an agreement for 495 NEXT in October 2021, and Transurban selected Lane Construction as the project’s design-build contractor. On Feb. 28, Transurban secured financing through a mix of equity and debt, including loans through the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.
The project includes the replacement or rehabilitation of seven bridges, replacement of nine noise walls and construction of another, environmental commitments to manage stormwater, four miles of bicycle and pedestrian construction and funding for new American Legion Bridge bus service connecting Virginia and Maryland.
Crews will continue early exploratory activities like surveying and begin to prepare for construction in the coming months. The extended lanes are scheduled to open in 2025.