UPDATED: The infamous bottleneck at on Interstate 95 just south of the Occoquan bridge will be fixed under an agreement Gov. Ralph Northam will announce this morning.
During Northam (D) will hold a 10 a.m. press conference to detail a new deal with Transurban, the Australian company that owns the tolled I-95 and I-495 HOV Express Lanes, to extend the tolled lanes to Fredericksburg.
The deal will include a $300 million “concession payment” to the state that will include about $50 million to pay to expand the non-tolled I-95 lanes just south of the Occoquan bridge to four lanes, state Sen. Jeremy McPike said in an interview before the 10 a.m. press conference.
The deal will not require the state to pay Transurban a fee for a “compensation” event, which official feared would be necessary to fix the bottleneck.
Instead, the expansion will be part of the deal on the new “FredEx” lanes, which will extend the tolled express lanes to Fredericksburg, said McPike, D-29th.
Details on the deal were still emerging Tuesday. The total cost of the deal was not immediately available before the Monday press conference.
“It’s amazing,” McPike said of the arrangement. “This is the biggest bottleneck we’ve all faced for decades. To finally get this fixed is a big relief.”
McPike said I-95 would be widened to four lanes south to the Prince William Parkway exit under the deal. The road will need to be expanded in some areas, while in others the shoulder would be utilized to add the new lane.
State officials had been negotiating the particulars of the deal for weeks. It marks a breakthrough in one of the region’s worst traffic snafus and one that was recently turned down for funding during the state’s regular process for awarding money for transportation projects.
Prince William County had asked for $25 million toward what they had estimated would be a $31 million project.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board turned down that request earlier this month along with 10 other projects the county had requested for funding.
“This is fantastic news because it addresses probably the single-most significant congestion point in Prince William County and possibly the biggest congestion point in Northern Virginia,” said Prince William County Supervisor Marty Nohe, R-Coles, who also chairs the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
“This is great news for commuters and it’s a really positive outcome from the public-private partnership because some of the toll money coming off the project is being used to help the people who choose not to use the toll lanes.”
This is a developing story. Stay with Prince William Times.com for updates.