One of President Obama’s final pitches for passage of the stimulus package was the uncompleted Fairfax County Parkway in northern Virginia. Although the Virginia Dept. of Transportation (VDOT) in 2004 allocated $89 million to complete a 2-mile segment adjacent to Fort Belvoir and Interstate 95, the project stalled due to its route across a portion of the Army’s Engineer Proving Ground (EPG), an 820-acre tract heavily contaminated from years of ordnance testing and training activities.
A year later, EPG was chosen as the new headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, bringing with it more than a third of the estimated 24,000 new workers being relocated to Fort Belvoir under the Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC) program.
Efforts to clean up EPG accelerated, but so did highway construction costs. The parkway segment’s price tag doubled, but Virginia lacked any extra money to make up the difference.
That left VDOT , the Army and the Federal Highway Administration with some hard decisions as to how thousands of new Fort Belvoir bound employees would get to work.
“We focused on project elements that would support the biggest priorities—the mainline travel lanes and a partial interchange to access the EPG,” explains VDOT project manager Tom Fahrney. The segment’s remaining elements had to wait for other funding.
The design-build team led by Cherry Hill Construction Inc., Jessup, Md., began work on the two priority phases in September 2008. Then came the stimulus, and Virginia’s decision to apply $60 million—the largest share of its nearly $700 million allocation for infrastructure projects—to the Parkway.
To comply with both contract procurement and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocation requirements, FHWA negotiated a $27-million modification to Cherry Hill’s contract to complete the EPG interchange and construct a three-quarter-mile extension. That work is to be completed in August 2011, eight months after the original completion date.
The remaining work—relocation of several local roads and improvements to another interchange, estimated at $33 million—is being bid as a separate design-build contract.