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CTB Advances Third Crossing Proposals

February 21, 2005

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) recently voted to move two private sector proposals that would build the Hampton Roads Third Crossing to the next stage of review under the Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA). The PPTA allows the private sector to partner with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to finance and build road projects quicker and with less public money.

Two groups – Skanska/Washington/Bam (SWB) and Fluor Virginia, Inc. – propose to build the project, which has gone through all the state and federal required environmental reviews, studies and public participation. The project involves building a bridge-tunnel parallel to the I-664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel and 13 miles of new highway. The project also includes widening 15 miles of I-664 from Hampton to Chesapeake. Other improvements include a multi-modal connector from I-564 to I-664 and a Craney Island connector to Route 164.

“The project will help relieve congestion at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and improve accessibility to commerce,” said VDOT Commissioner Philip Shucet. “The project will also improve public transportation and emergency evacuation routes while protecting environmental resources.”

SWB proposes to build an estimated $3.7 billion project with a completion date of 2013. Fluor Virginia, Inc. proposes to build an estimated $3.1 billion project with construction taking approximately seven years to complete after starting development work. Fluor’s proposal doesn’t include operations and maintenance like SWB’s proposal does. Both proposals include development, finance, design and construction.

Both proposals would be financed primarily through tolls. The proposals call for tolling the Third Crossing and existing bridge-tunnel facilities in Hampton Roads.

“The proposals merit further review because the proposers meet the initial qualifications to finance and build the Third Crossing,” said Shucet. “Public-private partnerships provide funding options that otherwise would not be available for certain projects, particularly the Third Crossing.”

The next step in the PPTA review process begins with the submission of the detailed proposals by both proposers. The detailed proposals will be reviewed by an advisory panel consisting of transportation experts and policy-makers. The advisory panel process is open to the public and will include one or more opportunities for public comments. The VDOT Commissioner would begin negotiations for a comprehensive agreement with one or both proposers in the summer of 2006.

The Third Crossing project has gone through all the environmental reviews, laws and regulations. The Federal Highway Administration issued its Record of Decision in 2001 and the project is included in the Hampton Roads 2026 Regional Transportation Plan. The Hampton Roads Metropolitan Planning Organization has identified the Third Crossing as one of six projects critical to the region for economic vitality. Both proposals are posted for review on www.virginiadot.org/business/ppta3rdCrossing.asp.

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