The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has approved a $1.2 billion TIFIA loan to support the construction of tolled express lanes on I-66 in northern Virginia. The loan represents a third of the cost of the $3.7 billion public-private partnership with a consortium of Cintra, Meridiam, Ferrovial Agroman US and Allan Myers, known as Express Mobility Partners (EMP). Financial close is expected in November, with approximately five years of construction set to be underway by the spring of 2018.

Design work is largely complete on the 23 miles of new express lanes that will be built between the I-495 Capital Beltway and U.S. Route 29 in Gainesville. Yet to be finalized are modifications to I-66’s space-constrained junction with the Beltway, which includes a Metrorail station in the median nearby. Cyclists and adjacent homeowners have also been at odds over a new multi-use trail’s proximity to the highway’s ravel lanes.

In addition to the express lanes, projected to cost $2.3 billion, the project calls a total of $850 million in other improvements to the I-66 corridor during EMP’s 50-year operation and maintenance concession, including safety and operational improvements at key interchanges, and auxiliary lanes between interchanges. Another $800 million will fund new and expanded bus service throughout the corridor.