495 NEXT map

495 NEXT map

Officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation and Transurban have executed a comprehensive agreement for the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project, VDOT announced this week, and Transurban has chosen Lane Construction as the project’s design-build contractor.

495 NEXT will extend existing 495 Express Lanes north by 2.5 miles and provide new and improved connections at the Dulles Toll Road and George Washington Memorial Parkway. Officials anticipate the $600 million project will cut travel times for Express Lanes users by 24 minutes, reduce crashes by 20% and generate about 6,300 jobs and $880 million in economic impact.

The project will provide new travel options, reduce congestion, fund new transit services and minimize cut-through traffic in residential communities, officials said.

“Through 495 NEXT and the ongoing investments in multimodal options, I believe we will unlock one of the most congested highways, significantly improve the region’s transportation network, and contribute to economic growth and opportunity,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine.

“495 NEXT provides for a future regional managed lanes network that will help solve the region’s congestion and improve quality of life,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich.

The 495 NEXT project includes:

• Funding for new American Legion Bridge bus service connecting Virginia and Maryland. Funding of $5.2 million to support the launch of a new bus service and $2.2 million per year to fund operations of the bus service.  Officials estimate the new service will move more than 170,000 riders each year and remove 4.7 million passenger miles from the road.

• Four miles of new bicycle and pedestrian connections including a shared-use path parallel to I-495 from Lewinsville Road to near Live Oak Drive that connects to existing facilities leading to Tysons.

• Replacement or rehabilitation of seven bridges with pedestrian accommodations at Old Dominion Road, Georgetown Pike, Live Oak Drive and Lewinsville Road. Improvements will include sidewalks, bike lanes and crossings.

• Replacement of nine existing noise walls and construction of a new noise wall along Live Oak Drive near the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchange.

• Environmental improvements including introducing stormwater-management facilities into this section of I-495 for the first time and funding restoration of the stream at Scotts Run.

Officials expect the project’s financial closing will occur this December, with construction starting in 2022. The new extended lanes are scheduled to open in 2025.

“Growing up near Tysons and as a current resident, I have witnessed for far too long the congestion challenges drivers face in this corridor. 495 NEXT is an important step toward providing travelers relief from this gridlock with new travel choices,” said Pierce Coffee, president of Transurban North America. “Whether a driver, bus rider, carpooler or biker, this project is going to help get you where you need to go safer, faster and more reliably.”

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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