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Capital Beltway (I-495)

The Capital Beltway (I-495)
(Updated June 2012)

Alliance Position:
Construct two high occupancy-toll lanes in each direction on a 14-mile stretch of I-495 from north of the I-95/I-395/I-495 Interchange to just east of Old Georgetown Pike (Route 193).

Current Status:
The project formerly known as I-495 HOT (High Occupancy Toll) Lanes will be officially called the 495 Express Lanes. The project is more than 90% complete.

495 Express Lanes:
The 495 Express Lanes are being constructed and operated by Capital Beltway Express, LLC, a joint venture of Fluor Enterprises, Inc. and Transurban DRIVE, LLC. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will retain ownership and oversight of the 495 Express Lanes.
At its 25th Anniversary celebration on May 23, 2012, the Alliance recognized Flour, Transurban and Lane Construction for their contributions to this transportation improvement of regional and statewide significance.

Single occupant vehicles will pay a variable toll based on demand also called congestion pricing. The tolls will change throughout the day according to real-time traffic conditions to manage the number of cars in the HOV/Bus/HOT lanes and keep them free of congestion — even during rush hour.
Carpoolers (HOV-3), motorcycles, buses and emergency vehicles will use the lanes free of charge. Large trucks will not be allowed to use the lanes.

The project will use electronic fare collection (E-Z Pass) to eliminate the need for toll booths. Electronic signs will provide drivers with the latest toll rates as they approach each HOT lanes segment, offering a choice to pay the toll for access, or to use the free lanes or other transit options.  Drivers "lock in" their toll price when they enter the 495 Express lanes. 

The Proposed Project Will:

  • Increase Beltway capacity from eight to 12 lanes.
  • Bring the regional HOV network to the Beltway for the first time, opening vanpool, carpool, and high speed bus services to Tysons Corner.
  • Add three new access points to the Capital Beltway at Rt. 29/Lee Highway, Westpark Bridge and Jones Branch Drive.
  • Upgrade 12 key interchanges and construct 13 miles of new or upgraded sound walls.
  • Replace more than $250 million of aging infrastructure, including more than 50 bridges and overpasses.
  • Construct the Springfield Interchange Phase VII to create a seamless HOV network on I-95/395, I-495, I-66, the Dulles Toll Road and future HOV lanes on Braddock Road.
  • Improve the connection at I-66 to improve traffic flow on the Beltway.
  • Improve pedestrian/bicycle facilities on 10 roads over the Beltway and provide for future facilities on two others.

The 495 Express Lanes Project has a fixed-price design build contract worth $1.4 billion.

The total project costs with financing is $1.929 billion.

The Commonwealth has contributed $409 million in grant funds for construction. An additional $349 million in private equity is being utilized.

The Federal Highways Administration is contributing $585 million in Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan funding in addition to $586 million in private activity bonds.

Note: Tolls paid by motorists using the 495 Express Lanes will support repayment of both loans and bonds. The Flour-Transurban partnership is liable for all risk if user fee revenues are insufficient to support loan and bond repayment.

Project Schedule:

Construction of Four New Lanes:
Outer Lanes: 2008 - 2010
Inner Lanes: 2011 - 2012
Bridge demolition: Fall 2008 - 2011
New bridge construction: 2008 - 2012
Hot Lanes Open: Late 2012

For more on construction phases, click here.

Access Points:
The 495 Express Lanes project will provide convenient access points to local traffic on eight major connecting roadways. For more information on access points, click here.

More Information:
To learn more about the Capital Beltway click on the links below.


Beltway Basics

Northern Virginia Capital Beltway Environmental Impact Study (EIS)

Capital Beltway Corridor Rail Feasibility Study