A massive highway interchange upgrade in northern Virginia could cost 10% to 19% more than estimated just four months ago, the state Dept. of Transportation says. Ray D. Pethtel, Virginia DOT's interim commissioner, said March 8 that the cost of the Springfield "Mixing Bowl" project could range from $650 million to $700 million when it is finished in 2007. The most recent estimate, done last November, was $589.5 million.

Springfield, Va., Interchange (Photo courtesy of Virginia DOT)

VDOT revisited the estimate for the Mixing Bowl during a review of its statewide six-year plan. That review was directed by new Gov. Mark Warner (D).

The seven-phase project, which centers on the connection between the Capital Beltway, Interstate-95 and Interstate-395, includes constructing more than 50 bridges, and widening one segment of I-95 to 24 lanes. Phases 2 and 3 are finished and came in seven months ahead of schedule.

But VDOT says the project costs are up because of contract changes for utility reconstruction, outstanding claims that may end up in litigation and delays due to limited construction windows for reconstructing the Beltway over a busy rail line.