A plan to add express lanes to 23 miles of Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia got one-third of the funding the project needs through a $1.2 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“Today’s milestone of achieving a TIFIA loan will allow the express lanes project on I-66 Outside the Beltway to move ahead, providing much-needed new choices and improving travel on I-66,” said Virginia transportation secretary Aubrey Layne.
The $3.7 billion project will add two express lanes beside three regular lanes from Interstate 495 to Route 29 in Gainesville in each direction. Space will be reserved in the median for future transit. Other improvements include 4,000 park-n-ride spaces, new and expanded bus service throughout the corridor, safety and operational improvements at key interchanges, auxiliary lanes between interchanges, and bicycle and pedestrian upgrades.
Financial close for the overall project is expected in November, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Public hearings on the design are scheduled for November 13-16, with construction to begin this year, VDOT says. The express lanes are scheduled to open in 2022.
The project is being designed, built and financed by Express Mobility Partners, a consortium of private interests partnering with the VDOT. EMP will also operate and maintain the I-66 project.
Under the agreement, EMP will provide an upfront payment of $500 million, $800 million for transit service in the corridor and $350 million for other I-66 corridor improvements over the next 50 years.