September 10, 2007
An agreement has been reached that will pave the way for construction of HOT lanes. Work is expected to begin next spring on the new express toll lanes on the Capital Beltway in northern Virginia.
Virginia Department of Transportation officials say the public-private project will cost about 1.7 billion dollars, nearly double the projected cost two years ago, and will be completed in 2013.
VDOT Commissioner David Ekern said the agency has reached an agreement with two private contractors, Transurban and Fluor, to design, build, operate and maintain the high occupancy toll, or HOT, lanes.
The plan calls for the private partners to build 14 miles of HOT
lanes on the beltway. Vehicles with three or more occupants can use
the lanes for free, while those with fewer occupants will be
charged tolls based on the level of congestion.
Previously, all of the money for the project was to come from
private funding. But rising construction costs and project upgrades
will require the state to chip in more than 400 million dollars.