2012-08-13: Concessionaire Transurban-Fluor begins some weeks of testing of their toll and traffic management systems on the toll express lanes of the I-495 Capital Beltway in northern Virginia.
The Transurban/Fluor concessionaire project on 29 miles of I-95 in northern Virginia is into construction. Initial clearing of brush and small trees is reported in the far southern segment where there is a 9 mile extension planned. Much of the existing 2-lanes reversible HOV further north will be widened to 3 lanes and ramps and off-line bus stations or park-&-rides added.
Most of the work is in the median of I-95.
Robert M 'Mike' Berry, general manager at the Richmond Metropolitan Authority is retiring later this year. He is one of the longest serving chief executives in the American toll business having held the job for 28 years - since 1986.
2012-08-03: Open road tolling (ORT) is scheduled to begin not far from the center of the Virginia capital Richmond Monday midmorning August 6 - at the busy mainline plaza of the Downtown Expressway (VA195). Three open road toll lanes will operate westbound through the plaza with four cash lanes (two staffed, two coin machine) alongside.
The new ORT lanes will speed the trip home evenings for central Richmond workers who live to the west or south.
2012-08-01: Virginia DOT and 95 Express Lanes LLC (90% Transurban, 10% Fluor) signed a 'comprehensive agreement' and went to financial close July 31 on a $925m project to widen and lengthen central reversible lanes and manage traffic with dynamic tolling. There's a groundbreaking in a few days - August 7.
2012-07-31 Midday: The VA/I-95 toll express lanes project on I-95 from the Capital Beltway at Springfield south to Fredericksburg VA is going to a financial close today with financing averaging 4.5 percent fixed rate loans. The approx $1 billion project will widen a 2-lanes reversible HOV to 3 lanes and extend it 10 miles south, add interchanges and bus transit and manage traffic with variable tolls.
2012-07-21: Since July 13 Elizabeth River Crossings OPCO LLC (ERC) has been running the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels under the estuarial Elizabeth River on the westside of downtown Norfolk Virginia. The tunnels are the Norfolk business district's connection to the city of Portsmouth and suburbs to the west in the Hampton Roads metro area.
2012-07-19: "Free Fall Weekends for E-ZPass Drivers" is the marketing slogan at the new South Norfolk Jordan Bridge in the Hampton Roads VA area. It is an offer intended both to encourage motorists to get transponder accounts, and to have trial runs on what will be a new route for many. (NOTE: we've given this a FOLLOW-ON and more prominence because of the company reaction to it as a BRIEFS item - editor)
Just over two percent of around 560,000 E-ZPass in Virginia or 11,567 accounts in April this year were deemed "inactive," a status they earn after showing no toll transaction for 12 months. That's according to Virginia DOT which runs the E-ZPass operation for all toll agencies in the state. And larger percentages apparently are unused for 6 months and 3 months.
2012-07-09: With a bunch of new toll facilities opening in the next couple of years Virginia DOT (VDOT) is looking to buy half a million new E-ZPass transponders, and has announced a new pricing scheme. The new fee schedule which takes effect September 1 will phase in a flat monthly fee of 50c for new transponders - both first-time and replacement transponders.