Youngkin breaks ground on new Beltway toll lanes in Fairfax Co.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and state transportation officials broke ground Monday on new Beltway toll lanes in Fairfax County. It’s a project that aims to cut down on commute times and increase driver safety. 

The 495 NEXT project will add two express lanes in each direction on the 2 1/2-mile stretch of Interstate 495 between the Dulles Toll Road and George Washington Memorial Parkway. It will also add a bike and pedestrian path along that stretch.

Before moving to Richmond, Youngkin lived in Fairfax and felt the pains of the Beltway.

“I spent many a day sitting right there in traffic, trying to get somewhere,” Youngkin said before the groundbreaking at the Capitol One Center in Tysons.

Transportation officials claim it will eventually cut the commute time through that corridor in half and reduce “cut through” traffic through McLean and Great Falls.

“We will see enhanced safety. We’ll see accidents reduced materially: 20%, as (state Transportation Secretary W. Sheppard Miller III) said,” Youngkin continued. 

Along with adding new express toll lanes to the 90-plus miles of existing lanes, the project will also build new overpass bridges over the Beltway stretch. 

“We’re going to replace aging bridge infrastructure by replacing and rehabilitating the Old Dominion Drive bridge, Georgetown Pike and Live Oak Drive,” Miller said. 

Seven bridges in total will be rebuilt or rehabbed. 

“These new bridges will also provide sidewalks and trail crossings, giving safer access to bicyclists and pedestrians,” Miller told the crowd at the ground breaking. 

The $660 million road project is a public-private partnership between the commonwealth and the toll road company Transurban, which was also tapped for toll lanes on I-495 in Maryland. 

“495 NEXT expands the benefits of faster and more-reliable travel to more drivers in the region,” said the president of Transurban North America, Pierce Coffee, 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.”

The 495 NEXT project also provides funding for new American Legion Bridge bus service connecting Virginia and Maryland. 

In the coming months, the 495 NEXT team will finalize the project’s design. Construction could start as early as this summer. The new extended lanes are scheduled to open in 2025.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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