Virginia accepts plan to extend 395 Express Lanes

WASHINGTON — Virginia has accepted a proposal to extend the express lanes on Interstate 395, and construction on the project is expected to begin later this year, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday.

The project will extend the toll lanes 8 miles from Edsall Road in Alexandria to the D.C. line.

Transurban, the private company that operates the 95 and 495 express lanes, will finance, design, build, maintain and operate the extension along I-395.

“This acceptance is the latest step in our ongoing effort to move more people and provide more travel choices in one of the most congested corridors of the country,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “The agreement we have reached with Transurban clearly meets the Commonwealth’s requirements and will give Virginia travelers and taxpayers the value they deserve for a project of this scope.”

As early as this week, crews will begin preliminary work such as geotechnical investigations and surveying, according to state officials.

Construction is expected to begin this summer and is scheduled to be complete by fall 2019.

“This is a big deal,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova. “We’re seeing a lot of movement on the transportation front, and this is one more feather in the cap.”

Design and construction is expected to cost approximately $500 million.

“People will often say that the Express Lanes were a lifesaver on 495,” said Bulova. “Being able to extend it onto 395 is really beneficial.”

Last month, Virginia transportation officials approved plans to extend the toll lanes north to the D.C. line and south beyond Garrisonville Road.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board gave Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick permission to alter an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration to cover the expansion of tolling.

Work has already begun on the 2.2-mile southern extension, and it is expected to be available for drivers in 2018. The following year, construction could begin to extend the lanes another 10 miles or so south to U.S. 17 in Stafford County by 2021.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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