Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Contract Awarded To Build New High Rise Bridge

SUFFOLK, Va. – The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a $409.6 million contract Tuesday to Granite/Parsons/Corman, Joint Venture of Tarrytown, NY, to widen about 8 miles of Interstate 64 and construct a new High Rise Bridge adjacent to the existing span in the Hampton Roads District. The award is the largest design-build contract in Virginia Department of Transportation history.
The project will widen I-64 from four to six lanes beginning half a mile east of the Interstate 264 interchange at Bowers Hill to one mile east of the Interstate 464 interchange. The widening will add one High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane in each direction to the existing two general purpose lanes.
The new fixed-span High Rise Bridge will be built just south of the existing High Rise Bridge to carry the three lanes of I-64 west traffic over the Elizabeth River. The new bridge will provide 100-foot vertical clearance over the river. The existing High Rise Bridge will continue to operate and will carry three lanes of I-64 east traffic upon completion of the project. The project will include replacement of the overpass bridge at Great Bridge Boulevard and realignment of the associated roadway. The existing bridges carrying I-64 over Military Highway, Yadkin Road and Shell Road will be widened.
The project is being paid for with a combination of funds from the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission and the state’s SMART SCALE program.
As part of the contract, civil infrastructure, including gantries and signs, will be completed for the new HOT lanes and Intelligent Transportation Systems.
The project is expected to be complete in summer 2021. It is designed to accommodate a future Phase 2 project, which will expand the corridor to a total of eight lanes and replace the existing High Rise Bridge.

To subscribe to updates on the 64 High Rise Bridge Project, sign up here. For more on the project, visit www.64HighRise.org.

Monday, October 30, 2017

I-95 Express Lanes Southern Terminus Extension To Open Ahead Of Schedule

New two-mile expansion adds new Express Lanes entrance and exit ramps south of Exit 143 at Garrisonville Road
FREDERICKSBURG – A project to extend Interstate 95 Express Lanes by two miles in Stafford County, adding new northbound and southbound ramps, will open to traffic ahead of schedule on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.
The $50 million project extends Express Lanes beyond the flyover ramp where they end today, just north of Route 610 (Garrisonville Road). 
The new southbound ramp will open to traffic on the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 31. The new northbound ramp will open early Wednesday, Nov. 1.
What Drivers Need to Know
The extension will operate under the same rules and reversal schedule as the current 95 Express Lanes.
When the extension opens, I-95 northbound traffic will be able to enter Express Lanes earlier at a new left entrance before the Garrisonville Road overpass.
Southbound Express Lanes traffic heading to Fredericksburg will be able to continue past Garrisonville and merge about one mile south of the Garrisonville Road exit.
All drivers need an E-ZPass to use the Express Lanes. Carpools need an E-ZPass Flex and three or more people in the vehicle to travel toll-free.
Project Background
Construction on the extension began in July 2016. The project’s design-build team is Branch Civil, Inc., and Whitman, Requardt & Associates.
The project is a joint investment by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Transurban.
Transurban operates the existing 29-mile Express Lanes facility that opened in December 2014, and will be responsible for maintenance and operations of the two-mile extension.
Around 146,000 vehicles a day travel I-95 near Garrisonville Road. 
More information on the I-95 Express Lanes Southern Terminus Extension project is available online at the project pageat www.VirginiaDOT.org.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Governor Announces Approval of Federal Loan for I-66 Public-Private Partnerships

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued their approval to provide a $1.2 billion Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the I-66 Outside the Beltway public-private partnership transportation project.
The TIFIA loan represents 33 percent of the project’s total cost. The Commonwealth’s private partner on the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project, a consortium of Cintra, Meridiam, Ferrovial Agroman US and Allan Myers, known as Express Mobility Partners (EMP) are responsible for designing, building, financing, operating, and maintaining the I-66 project.
“The I-66 Outside the Beltway project is a prime example of how working collaboratively and creatively with all parties can achieve major transportation improvements that benefit and protect Virginia taxpayers,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Securing a TIFIA loan was critical to the Commonwealth and its private partner’s ability to move forward and deliver this important public-private partnership transportation project. I am proud of the bipartisan work this administration has done to reform Virginia’s P3 program to increase competition, accountability and transparency in P3 projects.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and EMP team have been working to develop design plans for the express lanes project. Financial close for the overall project is expected this November. The public will have an opportunity to review and provide comments on the latest project design plans at public hearings scheduled on November 13, 14 and 16. Initial construction will begin later this year, and heavy construction throughout the entire corridor is expected to be in full swing in the spring of 2018.
Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne added, “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.” Secretary Layne continued, “This achievement could not have happened without a strong partnership between the USDOT, Commonwealth, communities in Northern Virginia, and EMP. We appreciate our partners’ hard work and shared commitment to get this critical project completed.”
“This is an important milestone in securing our project financing package, and we are focused on achieving full financial close in the near future,” commented Javier Gutierrez, chief executive officer for I-66 Express Mobility Partners. “Once we achieve financial close, our focus will be on securing design approvals and beginning construction on this transformational project. We have been working closely with our partners at VDOT, our design-build contractor FAM Construction, and the local community to ensure that we deliver a dramatically improved travel experience on a safer, more efficient I-66.”
The project requires zero public investment and Virginia’s private partner will provide an upfront payment of approximately $500 million that will be used to fund additional transportation improvements in the corridor. Additionally, the comprehensive agreement requires EMP to pay a net present value of $800 million for transit service in the corridor and $350 million for other projects to improve the I-66 corridor over the next 50 years.
The project will modify nearly 23 miles of I-66 providing two express lanes alongside three regular lanes from I-495 to Route 29 in Gainesville in each direction, with dedicated express lane access points, and space in the median reserved for future transit. In addition, the project consists of 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.
The express lanes are scheduled to open in 2022.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Driverless Cars Are Coming To Atlanta. Are We Ready?

On September 14, like any other day, a car will leave the Georgia Tech campus, turn onto North Avenue, and travel a mile and a half due east through Midtown and the Old Fourth Ward to reach Ponce City Market.
What’s different: This car—part of a joint pilot project by Tech and City Hall among others—will be guided on its voyage by a network of sensors, transmitters, Wi-Fi hotspots, GPS receivers, and other gizmos installed along the route and embedded in the vehicle that provide the real-time information needed to avoid obstacles and follow traffic rules. A person will be behind the wheel in case technology fails, but a computer will be in charge.
Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Smart Cities: Why Now?

The US Department of Transportation’s Smart Cities Challenge was just the latest event to expose the growing interest for cities using technological solutions to solve pressing transportation problems like reducing transportation costs while also making it easier to get around, making housing more affordable and ensuring that low-income residents benefit from our increasingly prosperous cities.

Read the story here.

Monday, October 9, 2017

VDOT's Susan Shaw Receives National Honor

FAIRFAX, Va. – Susan N. Shaw, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Northern Virginia Megaprojects Director, was recognized by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials at its annual meeting Wednesday in Phoenix, Arizona for a career overseeing major transportation improvements in Northern Virginia, totaling more than $3 billion.
 The Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award recognizes an outstanding contribution in the field of highway engineering or management.

VDOT's Susan Shaw receives AASHTO Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award.

As Megaprojects Director, Susan oversees major design-build and public-private partnership (P3) projects, including the current $2.3 billion project to build Express Lanes on Interstate 66 outside the Beltway that will break ground later this year.
Susan is a familiar face to many of the residents surrounding her projects, as she has long been the backbone of her projects’ outreach over the years. In early development of the I-66 Express Lanes project, she personally attended or supported more than 280 public and stakeholder meetings – often meeting in neighborhood cul-de-sacs and residents’ homes to talk specifically about project impacts and answer questions.
“Susan is a true ambassador for VDOT with stakeholders of all levels, and has been relentless in her dedication to delivering results for the Commonwealth and the public,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick. “She is a genuine public servant due to her many hours working with the public interested in and impacted by our projects as well as an elite and innovative engineer, manager and leader.”
Since joining VDOT in 1997, Susan’s many successes include leading the nearly $1 billion I-95 Express Lanes project in partnership with Transurban, managing an ongoing $400 million public-private partnership on Route 28 since 2002, and building a design-build program that was the first of its kind in the state, delivering an array of projects totaling $1 billion.
"Every year it is AASHTO's privilege to recognize the extraordinary people, projects and programs that are making transportation safer and more reliable for everyone," said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. "Susan is a truly remarkable innovator who demonstrates the kind of can-do spirit America will need to keep up with the transformational technologies emerging in transportation today."
Also recognized this year by AASHTO was the Route 50 Traffic-Calming Project in Middleburg, with a regional America’s Transportation Award for Quality of Life and Community Development, and the I-66 Active Traffic Management System, which won a regional award for Operations Excellence and moved on to compete against 11 other states for an AASHTO People’s Choice Award. 
Susan Shaw Meets with Residents