Proposed Virginia Route 288 wins approval
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) of Virginia has granted conceptual approval for the construction of the uncompleted portion of Virginia Route 288 from the Powhite Parkway to I-64, proposed by James River Parkway Associates (JRPA), a joint venture of Dewberry & Davis, Fairfax, Va., and Brown & Root, Houston.
The proposed highway will be constructed under the state’s Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995, which permits Virginia to enter into agreements authorizing private entities to acquire, construct, improve, maintain and/or operate transportation facilities.
JRPA has proposed building Route 288 as a public-private partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), with JRPA responsible for the financing, design, construction and operation of the 17-mile highway. Construction costs are estimated to be around $255 million.
A build-transfer-operate structure has been proposed, whereby VDOT would assume ownership of the facility after the construction was completed and certification had been received.
JRPA would then operate and maintain the facility under a franchise agreement for a specified period of time. It is anticipated the project will be financed with a combination of public funding and private debt and equity. Tolls on the facility will be the principal source for repayment of the debt.
The combination of some public funding and private equity is expected to permit the toll rate to be at a level acceptable to the consumer. While the form and source of the public contribution is still to be negotiated, the proposal, which received conceptual approval, allows for all possible sources of funds, including federal grants, state contributions and local funding initiatives, as well as private landowner contributions in the form of special tax districts.
Route 288 is a major development corridor in Chesterfield and Goochland counties and will provide a critical link to existing and proposed employment centers north of the James River. The highway is key to improving regional mobility and will provide direct access to the planned Motorola semiconductor facility in eastern Goochland County, a manufacturing complex that is expected to create more than 5,000 new jobs in the region.
Both VDOT and the local governments have long supported the completion of Route 288. However, construction has been delayed by 15 years to 20 years because of the lack of available public funds.
The implementation of a public-private partnership would enable the Route 288 project to be completed by Jan. 1, 2000.
Route 288 will be a multi-lane, limited access highway designed and constructed in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations and standards. Eight interchanges are planned, along with a major bridge crossing over the James River.
The design will be oriented to a parkway setting that complements the surrounding area, and the operation will feature a “barrier free” Automatic Toll Collection system designed to eliminate delays.