Shearman & Sterling advised the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on the approximately $1.05 billion in commitments to the Capital Beltway Express Lanes projects. These projects consist of the development of the I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension Project (Project NEXT) in Northern Virginia, which connects to key interchanges in Maryland and links to the contemplated I-495/I-270 project and the refinancing of the existing loan for the Capital Beltway Express Lanes. Total project costs are expected to be approximately $660 million for Project NEXT and approximately $2 billion in total.
Project NEXT is being developed as a public-private partnership (PPP) under the 495 Comprehensive Agreement signed between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Capital Beltway Express. It will be a 2.5-mile extension of the northern 495 HOV/HOT Lanes from near the I-495 and Dulles Access Road interchange to the American Legion Memorial Bridge crossing the Potomac River. Two new Express Lanes will run in each direction to reduce congestion and improve roadway safety, provide additional travel choices and improve travel reliability.
Shearman & Sterling previously represented USDOT on negotiations with the same project sponsor on two previous expansions of express lanes in the region, the 395 Express Lanes and 95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension, in 2017 and 2019, respectively.